How To Show Your Character On The Page

When my first novel, Wolf Soul, went out to publishers it received several rejections giving similar feedback. They couldn’t connect with the main character. They didn’t love him enough. They didn’t warm to him. As the story progressed they became alienated from him.

When you have issues like that with your main character, you have a big problem. I had to wonder if it was a problem too big to fix. Would I ever improve, or would it haunt my second novel, Cradlesnatch? Continue reading

Show Not Tell – Using Body Language to Show Emotions

I was checking out my blog stats last week (as you do) and noticed a lot of searches had been made about how to ‘show not tell’ in fiction for specific emotions. So I’ve had a little root around the internet, on sites which talk about body language, and come up the following suggestions for character actions which could be used to reveal their inner turmoil. Continue reading

Looking at the Big Picture – Are Your Character Motivations Working?

Sometimes when you’re editing, you can find yourself spending so much time focusing on the line by line detail that you lose track of the big picture. It’s something I’ve had a lot of trouble with writing my second novel, Cradlesnatch, partly because it’s taking so long to get the first draft down on paper. I find I lose track of the story’s inner connections.

I wasn’t sure what to do about the problem. When I’m sitting at the computer all I see is the section of manuscript I’m working on. It felt like I needed to make room in my head to get a grasp of the story as a whole. So I started taking afternoon walks. Continue reading

Avoiding Adverbs

After the Plain or Fancy post from Gillian Cross, I got to thinking about adverbs. How and when should we use them? Is right to cull a manuscript of the little blighters? Or do they have a role to play in our prose. I came to an interesting conclusion. Continue reading

‘Show Not Tell’ – A How To Guide

It takes courage to write. Facing that blank page can be difficult enough in itself. Finding the words to express your scene goal, mix more conflict into a line of dialogue, or add a perfect detail of description is no easy task. But fiction is more than plot, character and setting. Great fiction has emotion and that emotion comes from the heart and soul of the writer.

But it isn’t a simple matter of ‘telling’ the reader about the emotions a character is experiencing, instead we are told to ‘show’ them. It is a phrase often used, but not always easy to put into practice. So I thought I’d share a few techniques I’ve developed to help me ‘show’ the emotions in my stories, rather than ‘tell’ them. Continue reading