Monthly Writing Exercises: What to consider when writing dialogue

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So I was doing some research for this month’s exercise on dialogue. I came across a few definitions, the most informative of which started with:

‘Dialogue is, basically, two or more characters talking to each other’

Now there’s something I bet you didn’t know! Yes dialogue is characters talking to each other, now we have that established, let’s look at it in a *tad* more detail.

Dialogue is a great way of breaking up that continuous ream of prose. It allows you to advanced the story, and bring in new ideas without the ‘narrator’ explicitly spelling them out for the reader. It is also vastly important and helpful in developing your character. Use of accent, speaking habits and range of vocabulary (or lack thereof), can speak volumes without ever explicitly stating the fact.

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Monthly Writing Exercises: What to consider when writing dialogue

Quick Writing Exercises: An Unreliable Narrator

office-620822_640We talked last month about a few different ways you can approach point of view in your writing. We thought we would follow on from that with a quick exercise on the ‘unreliable narrator’. This can mean a few different things. For example, you could have a narrator that speaks from a very biased point of view. Think of someone who tells a story, making the object of their ire look as bad as possible and yet when you talk to the second party, they have a totally different story to tell.

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Quick Writing Exercises: An Unreliable Narrator

Getting Some Perspective: A Note on POV

Perspectives and Points Of View

The Dark

It is perhaps something that a writer doesn’t (consciously) think much about. Certainly in my own writing, when I start typing I already have a fixed idea about how I will write my prose. Ie nearly always from the third person and frequently from a ‘omniscient’ narrator stand point.  It is not often that I stop and wonder whether the prose might be suited to another POV. For other writers it might be entirely different. For example, nearly always writing in first person.

Recently I have been tinkering with my prose and playing around with perspective to create a different sort of effect. Some of the results have been quite markedly better than the original script. Feeling inspired, I thought I would write a quick overview of the different POVs and perspectives one can use.

Continue reading “Getting Some Perspective: A Note on POV”

Getting Some Perspective: A Note on POV

6 Tips For Quick Writing and Editing Fixes

 Quick Writing Fixes for Your First Draft

 We’ve all been there, starring at a page of our work and thinking, it’s just not quite right. It doesn’t say quite what I want it to say, or it just doesn’t portray what’s in my head. To a certain extent, some of these things you must learn to let go.
As Anne Wilson Schaef once said:
‘Perfectionism is selfabuse of the highest order.’

However, what if you just want to tighten up your prose? Like a good copy editor might do for your script? Well we’ve put together a short check list you can whizz through and apply to your writing to help smooth out the edges.

1. Stating the obvious

As we’ve pointed out in previous articles, you don’t want to do all the work for the reader. The joy of reading a book is that it allows you to imagine the world in your own mind, recreating the book from the description in your  head. Or putting together teasing hints that suggest the plot.

This ‘Show Don’t Tell’ principle also extends into the core of your writing. For example, if your sentence reads something like ‘The sun was burning my eyes as I looked up at it in the sky’. It’s a bit clunky and a great way of trimming it down is taking out the ‘looking up in the sky’ bit. Generally speaking the sun is always in the sky, so it doesn’t need to be pointed out to the reader (unless your sun is somewhere different in your book).

By taking out the obvious it can allow the prose to flow a little better and create a more natural read through. A good way of catching these sentences is thinking: if I said this aloud to someone, would it sound odd?

2. Be ruthless with adverbs

Now many of you will know that I love a bit of colourful description. However, a balance must always be struck. For example, one of my favourite authors at the moment is David Mitchell. He has some beautiful description in his prose, but he always keeps the pace going throughout.

The key to this is being harsh with your adverbs and adjectives. If it’s unnecessary, it’s going. For example, ‘I walked through the north-east facing, Edwardian crafted door’. Is it important that it’s north-east facing? No? Then it’s gone

If you want to be truly brutal in this respect, go through a copy of your script and take out all adverbs and adjectives, adding back in only those that are necessary for the text to make sense. Now it’s probably going to end up a little stark if you do this, but it’s quite a fun exercise in highlighting what is and isn’t important.

3. Overloading

Whilst we are advocates of the show don’t tell philosophy, there are, of course times, where you need to share information with your reader. For example, where you are introducing a character you might want to say ‘Jessica worked in the dress makers shop but was actually the daughter of Count Dracula, who owned a chain of excellent fish and chip shops’.

There is a lot going on in that sentence and some readers will just skip right by all that information. If you are going to straight up tell readers, try to do so at intervals, dropping information here and there. They don’t have to be scattered across a whole chapter but try and dedicated separate sentences to different information points.

Of course, dropping information like this in a list, can be done to create a variety of effects and this can be a writing tool in itself. It very much depends, as always, on the effect you are trying to achieve.

4. Cliché

It was midnight, as he travelled to the dark, creepy castle surrounded by vampire bats. 

Yes OK, it’s an obvious one and I’m sure none of you are writing classic clichés, unless your using them for effect. However, it is easy for them to sometimes slip into our writing unnoticed, especially commonly used phrases. So, if you find some hiding throughout your work cut them out or reword them to see if it makes your prose smoother.

5. Make Your Description Count

Now in our article on character description we talked about ideas and how to describe characters by tapping into the senses. So, for example, describing someone’s eyes as being a ‘a dirty brown, like the bottom of whisky bottle’ etc. Of course, you don’t use these sort of descriptions for every sentence. The prose would quickly become unwieldy. Ideally you want to use them to create an image the reader can imagine.

So, for example, if you say ‘Her emerald coloured eyes twinkled like a broken wine glass, reflecting the pallid gold of the flaming, yellow torches’. Well you can see you’ve used a lot of colours and images there. Try to use your imagery sparingly, so it makes a real impact on your audience. Let them savour the taste of what you have created before serving them up the next meal.

 6. Run Along Sentences

This one is very close to my heart. When I first started writing, my sentences could go for miles. I still have a tendency of doing it now. The main problem that comes from long sentences is that the subject changes too many times for the audience to follow.
For example ‘The nurse, who had always worked Saturdays, not that the government believed her, was now, despite her willingness, stuck in Ward C on the busiest day of the year even though she had booked annual leave to go see the sterling performance of Cats at the local theatre.’
 
Now one of the fun things about run on sentences, is breaking the rule about run on sentences. Sometimes, especially if your conveying a particularly scattered character, they work. However, on many occasions they contain too many ideas for a reader to easily follow at once. This is nothing to do with the intelligence of the reader. As a writer you want to make reading your book easy, as if they’ve forgotten they are even reading a book at all.
So if your looking at your prose and thinking ‘mm, this just doesn’t read right’, add some full stops.

Conclusion 

Once you’ve gotten your draft in front of you then you can apply these tips to your heart’s content. Some may improve your writing immensely and others, perhaps, might not be a good fix for your story. Nonetheless, it’s always fun to try out new writing tools when editing your work! Let us know how you get on!

6 Tips For Quick Writing and Editing Fixes

The Top 5 Writing Decisions I’ve Made So Far

A great article of the building blocks a writer can put in place, learnt through experience. Some very solid advice!

A Writer's Path

Decisions..

Like many of you, I’ve been a keen reader since childhood. Reading was an escape when my loving, boisterous family overwhelmed me, when the world was quiet and friends slept, and the television pixels seemed to zap energy rather than give it. I started with Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, and Judy Blume and was hooked from there.

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The Top 5 Writing Decisions I’ve Made So Far

Monthly Writing Exercises: ‘What do you want?!’ – Questions for Characters

Monthly Writing Exercise: Character Motivations

All human beings are driven by desire, by want and by need. Whether it be as simple as needing shelter or food, as frivolous as wanting a new dress or as powerful as wanting a new life for yourself.

In our stories, the plots are often driven on by our protagonists wants or desires. Revenge, a quest to save a loved one, to make it to the shop before closing time. Without a protagonist aim, stories can tend to loose focus, meandering around pointlessly. It need not be an epic ‘want’ but it should provide a character with  a motivation of sorts. How many people do you know who truly want nothing?

Sometimes a want can be for something complete intangible. For example, in the Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby wishes to turn back time, recovering the past where he and Daisy has their idyllic love affair and recreate it in the present. Sometimes wants can converge, for example, in For Whom The Bell Tolls we follow Robert Jordan as he intends to blow up a bridge to halt Fascist troops. However, we are also introduced to the concept that he holds a true desire to experience Spanish life.

That is to say that wants are not necessarily, or ordinarily, singular. Really interesting stories often have a protagonist with conflicting wants which strain against each other. NBC’s recent adaptation of Hannibal plays to this aspect magnificently so of course they are canceling it.

The Writing Exercise

Think about the story you are writing at the moment. Or one that you haven’t written but is keeping you up at night (we’ve all been there). What does your character want? And, possibly more importantly, why does he want it? Is it an idle fancying, conjured up in a moment? Or is it a deep longing, manifested since childhood?

Think also how you might present this to the reader? Will you let the actions of your character reveal his or her motives? Will it be weaved into the narrative? A combination of the two?

What stands in the way of your character achieving this? An enemy, an evil empire, a lover, a friend, perhaps your character’s own self-doubt? The central conflict in a book is often set up and created in opposition to the main character’s desire.

Think, as well, about that the consequences of that ‘want’. How much will be sacrificed directly and indirectly to achieve this goal? What collateral damage will there be?

How does this desire shape your character? For better or worse?

Conclusion

As always I would like the stress that these are not hard and fast rules. However, the idea of central conflict and characters driven by desire are fantastic tools to be able to add to your story telling arsenal. We hope these exercises will help generate some new and exciting ideas for your book, or perhaps help you add another layer to your existing stories! Good luck!

Monthly Writing Exercises: ‘What do you want?!’ – Questions for Characters

Book Crossing: The World’s Library

I stumbled across this great website the other day which some of you may already have heard of; Book Crossing. It has this great, Amélie type feel to it and I think it’s a great idea.

The site calls itself the World’s Library, a social networking site dedicated to the celebration of literature. In essence the site encourages you to pass on your books to others; friends, family and strangers. What makes the project really interesting is that each book is given its own, unique tracking number so you can follow it on its journey. According to BookCrossing they have books scattered through 132 countries at the moment, making it a truly global effort.

For example, leave one of your favourite books in a cafe, with a note encouraging someone to pick it up. Each book will have its number and instructions within it. Sit back and wait to see who discovers it.

The only aspect I personally disagree with in this effort is that the founders have proclaimed that old books on bookshelves don’t give you any pleasure, so you should donate them.However, I, for one, get an immense amount of pleasure looking at my books and being able to reread them whenever I choose. So, for my part, I am happier picking up a second hand book for the purpose of reading it and passing it on. That way a nice independent bookshop gets some money, I read a new book and then someone else gets it for free. But that’s just me, if you have a few books sitting around, unwanted presents maybe, then go for it!

But does this really work outside of the movies? Well Book Crossing estimates that it has 10, 979, 232 books currently circulating which is a pretty impressive number.

So is it worth a go? Well, the idea of this tracking system is to allow fellow readers to connect by following and reviewing their books. They also have face to face meetings across the country, arranged by its members, for you to go and meet fellow readers in person. So if you are an avid reader it’s a pretty fun community to join in itself, the fact that you may have the opportunity to see your book travel the world is a huge bonus.

Also, if you happen to be a self-published author, what a fun way to get your book out there and in front of new readers! You never know who may pick it up!

Book Crossing: The World’s Library

Marketing Monday: An Introduction to SEO for Authors

Search Engine Optimization For Authors

There are a plethora of ways an author can set up their own website these days. From DIY sites such as Weebly, creating your own WordPress or to getting in a professional, it has never been easier to get online.

However, as many of you will know, it is not a case of ‘build and they will come’. The internet has its own tricks and secrets that you must master to get ahead. The most fundamental of these is good SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. This is the technique of improving the visibility of your website in a search engine’s organic (unpaid) results. You can spend years studying this topic. Indeed, it is constantly changing, propelled along by Google’s shifting prioritise and penalties

A Beginner’s Guide to SEO

For beginners, I have put together a few basic things that can be simple to implement into your website but produce big rewards. I would encourage all website owners to spend some time, if they have it, in looking further into SEO practices. For now though, go through some of these simple basics of SEO and implement them in your own website.

Search Optimization and Google

As we are going through the basics today I’m going to mainly stick with Google as it is really one of the biggest influencers in this sphere. No one knows precisely what Google’s algorithm for ranking sites is, however, many men smarter than I have put together a rough idea at what Google is looking for.

  • Trust

It is estimated that the two biggest components of the equation are the ‘Trust’ and/or authority of the site and the link ‘popularity’ of the page. It is estimated that these two considerations make up roughly 23.87% and 22.33% of Google’s considerations respectively.

So what is ‘trust’? Well it seems to be made of a few different considerations but it mainly boils down to how much of an authority your website is considered in its field. For example, .edu addresses such as universities will rank well as they will be considered authorities in their areas. The age of a website will also feature into calculations, so if your site is only a week old that could effect its rankings. Similarly, moving into ‘link’ popularity, page visits will also feed into this authority.

  • Link Popularity

You may have heard people mentioning ‘backlinks’ or trying to obtain links back to their page. We discussed why this was important in our SEO for Twitter article. However, the main crux of the issue is that the more people link to your page, the more highly Google regards this. The more people are recommending your content, the more comfortable Google feels with recommending it itself.

  • Black Hat Warning

You may come across something called ‘black hat SEO’ which will promise you that it will create links for you and help boost your website. Avoid this like the plague. Google is seriously cracking down on this and will wipe you off the digital map if it finds any sort of black hat SEO on your site. Examples of black hat SEO include things like using keywords repeatedly and out of context at the bottom of pages and using ‘invisible links’ to increase authority by hiding them in white text. Basically it is any technique which is used solely to increase SEO and not for the benefit of the audience visiting the page.

  • Anchor Text

To create a two pronged attack as far as links are concerned, Google also looks at the ‘Anchor Text’ of external links to your site. So, for example, if a link back to your article contains the phrase ‘read our historical epic based on the life of Nero’ as part of the blue hyperlink text, Google is going to recognise that the link is going to take the reader to an authority on Nero. However, if the text simply says, ‘click here’, Google essentially doesn’t know where that link is going. It is estimated that Google attributes 20.26% of its calculation to anchor text of external links.

Now given the link text is ‘external’ ie not on your own website it can be difficult to monitor this but do keep it in mind. Especially, for example, if you’re writing a guest blog on another site (which is an excellent way to increase your external links). Try to ask, politely, for the link back to your page to contain the appropriate keywords.

  • Keyword Usage

As we mentioned before you don’t want to be tempted into the black hat area by just throwing key words out here, there and everywhere. However, it is worth making sure that you have a spread of your keywords throughout your site. Obviously your keywords will vary depending on your target audience. If your using a DIY website builder such as WIX or Weebly then they will usually have an option where you can just enter the keywords you want to use and they will incorporate them into the SEO of your website for you.

  • Traffic

The least surprising on the list, although perhaps surprising in its lack of hierarchy, is website traffic. This is pretty straight forward concept. The more traffic you get to your site, the more traffic you will generate. It’s very much a catch-22 situation. However, Google will take into account how much traffic your page gets. If you are a bit low on the traffic side of things take heart in that Google equates more weight to the authority of your site.

I often get asked how much traffic authors should be getting to their website. There really is no easy answer to this. If you’ve done your marketing right and most of your traffic is made up of your target audience then your sales will inevitably be better than those who have a higher traffic stats but a lower concentration of potential buyers.

I asked a few fellow authors recently and the general consensus is that a good target figure to work to in the first instance is around 300 views a day. However, as always, figures should be taken with a pinch of salt. A useful exercise I do is to work out cost per click, cost per lead and cost per acquisition.

So, for example, if I spend a hundred pounds on advertising and I receive a hundred clicks to the website then my CPC (cost per click) is one pound. If ten of those one hundred go on to become leads (ie they sign up to a mailing list, or give you their details) then my cost per lead is ten pounds. If one of these people go on to buy my book then my cost per acquisition is a hundred pounds.

Obviously if your selling a book for say ten pounds, and it is costing you a hundred pounds per acquisition you’ve got some serious problems. However if you spend  a hundred pounds and you get two thousand clicks, two hundred leads, and 20 buyers that’s looking a little better. So you can use your views to work out roughly how many views translate into purchases and work out what your necessary viewing number need to be for you to turn a profit. Importantly, you can also use this as a rough guide as to what you need to be spending on advertising and the likely returns of your investments. However, as I have said, this does depend hugely on other variables, such as the effectiveness of your market targeting etc.

  • Social Traffic

Finally social traffic is considered to make up around 5.3% over Google’s equation. However, as with all things in SEO territory, this one could be in some state of flux given recent developments. Google have recently unveiled plans to give social media a lot more of a prominent role within their searches so keep an eye on this one! In any case social media has its own benefits, such as network and advertising in its own right. The fact it contributes to SEO is just an added bonus.

Conclusion.

Google’s algorithm should become the basic building blocks to plan your solid SEO strategy upon. Whilst this is just a brief introduction to Search Engine Optimization I hope this will point authors in the right direction in moving forward with their websites! If you would like to know anything in a little more in depth, please feel free to email your questions to enquiries@crownlesspublications.com and I would be happy to get back to you or create another blog post!

As always thanks for reading and sharing!

J

Marketing Monday: An Introduction to SEO for Authors

Marketing Monday: What NOT to Tweet for authors

Hello everyone! Just before we start I wanted to say thank you so much for all the positive feedback you guys have sent so far about my marketing posts. Also thank you to the Crownless Publication team for letting me loose on your blog! (Always helps to butter up your bosses😉 ).

It’s been great to hear all about your experiences in the world of online marketing for authors. A few of you have emailed with questions asking roughly ‘what is wrong with this tweet?’.  As we have covered what you should put in a tweet I thought I would take a little time to cover, what not to put in a tweet. I hope this will answer your questions!

So, back to the world of Twitter we go. Now, I’ve read quite a number of very excellent indie books. Beautiful prose, stunning imagination, pure creation. You writers out there have so much creativity brimming inside you! And all I can think sometimes, when I see author’s tweets, is ‘where did all that creativity go!’. I know, it’s hard to be thrust into a new platform. Especially for writers the 140 character word limit is a new, feral and unpleasant beast.

Now, I won’t go too much into the best sorts of content (pictures, quotes and shareable mixes of the two) as we have covered that in previous articles. Let me focus on what we don’t want to see –

1. OMG Best Ever Book Only 99c!!!!

‘Best Read Ever, now only 99c! Get in while you can!’ #bookpromo #barginbooks #99c #amwriting

Now, you are all lovely, intelligent, very good looking people. I’m sure that you know exactly what makes a good read. However, with the best will in the world, might you be a bit biased about your own book? Is it really the best read ever? Even it is, can you prove that? Might it not be better to quote a review? An interesting review that differentiates your book from all the other people shouting ‘best read ever’? Just give it a go!

Now, to address the 99c aspect. I’m not saying never put your book on sale. Sales are tried and tested and in the right context can work wonders. However, there are a couple of reason I wouldn’t lead with the price. Firstly, when you see something cheap, often your first thought is ‘what’s wrong with it?’. In this new information sharing age people are willing to shop around. Readers and shoppers are savy and informed. It doesn’t help that self-publishers still have an unfortunate image of being substandard compared to their traditional counterparts. Shouting that your book is a mere 99c is going to reinforce this image, no matter how ill deserved it might be.

The second reason I wouldn’t lead with the price is a big one….

Story time: I used to work for a huge, national telecommunications company. This is where I received my first introduction into the world of marketing. Our trainer always used to say to us ’emphasis the qualities. Ignore the price, leave that until last.’ Younger me thought this was ridiculous. Surely the price was the only thing that people really cared about! I was wrong. Sure there were some customers for whom the price was everything. They were the minority. When selling a product we got far more sales when we matched a product to a customers needs, selling only its relevant and positive attributes. If it happened to be on sale, or a good price, that was the last thing we dropped.

What I’m saying is, if you want to put your book on sale, or sell it cheaply, that’s fine. However, you want a good sale to be the final knock out punch, not the hook. Lure in your potential readers with quotes, rave reviews and unique selling points. Once you’ve got their interest, then hit them with the price. Sold.

2. The New XXX…..

Hands up who has seen tweets along the lines of ‘New Teen Vampire’ ‘The New Hunger Games’ ‘Sexy Sparkly People’ ‘Werewolf Teen Struggles With Handsomeness’

OK, well maybe I exaggerate (but not by much sadly). However, there are a myriad of sins at work here.

Now, no matter how you feel about Twlight or the abuse of the vampire aesthetic, you can’t deny there is a market for it. One of you out there may have even written the new best selling vampire trilogy. And that’s great. However, the world is full of sexy vampire wolf hybrids with enough teen angst to destroy the world as we know it.

What is your USP (unique selling point)? Whilst I may hate the phrase with a passion it is a useful one. What is it that makes your book stand out from those around it? Stand out from the crowd.

The second thing is the phrase ‘The New Hunger Games/ Game Of Thrones etc’. Now I will concede that this not all bad. You have probably seen many a traditionally published book with a review across it’s front with the same accolade. Personally, I would phrase this slightly differently ‘If you liked Game Of Thrones you will (insert expression of childhood wonder here). You want to give people the assurance that your book has all the things in it that makes a book great, however, remember, you still want to differentiate yourself. No one wants to read a slightly ‘less good’ version of a book they’ve already read. I say ‘less good’ because no matter how good your book is, the first book your reader read will always be better in their mind. And, if yours happens to be just as good, people are going to start to use the words ‘rip-off’ and ‘copy’. So be careful not to invite any unfaltering comparisons, no matter how ill deserved they may be.

3. Relevant to your audience

In our post last week we talked about creating content that can do something for your reader, as well as yourself. Think carefully what it is that you are offering your readers. As we know, content is king. People love to share content they feel is relevant to them and their friends. The fact your book is 99c is not relevant to your readers friends. The fact that your book features one of the first heroines modelled on modern feminist principles? That might be relevant to them.

Share ‘behind-the-scenes’ knowledge. For example, J.K Rowling still occasionally tweets new information about Harry Potter. People still love hearing new things about their favourite book, even long after the books have finished. Engage readers in ‘The World’. It’s not just a new fantasy book for 99c. It is new friends they can discover, new journeys they can go on. Flesh it out. If your feeling particularly good about your time management create a Twitter account for one of your characters. The last time I looked even Lastrade’s moustache and Mycroft’s umbrella had Twitter accounts. There are no limits.

4. Appropriate linking

With only 140 characters to play with, inserting a link to your book every time you tweet will take up valuable space. By plugging the link at every opportunity your going to shatter the illusion of this beautiful world your creating through your Twitter. I’m not saying never do it obviously, just keep an eye on it. Of course, always have a link in your Twitter bio so it’s there for when people need it.

Conclusion

Reading a book is a big investment of time. There is nothing so disappointing as picking up a new book and thoroughly hating it. People invest a lot of time into reading books. You are asking people to surrender a portion of their lives to you. Remember, you are not marketing a book, you are marketing a new world and a new experience to your readers. Fully immerse them in that experience and do not shatter the magic by suddenly shouting… ‘AND IT’S ONLY 99c’.

Marketing Monday: What NOT to Tweet for authors

Monthly Writing Exercises: Show Don’t Tell

Monthly Writing Exercise: Character Building

Characterizations In Novels

Last month we were looking at memories as writing prompts to enable you to capture the mood of your character. This month we’re going to get back into the gritty details and look at characterisation.

When you meet someone for the first time what do you think? What do you notice? Whilst most of us try not to judge people at first glance, it is irresistible to form an opinion of someone at first sight. Think about what informs that opinion, is it the way they dress? The way they stand? Do they feel warm or abrasive in demeanour?

As a writer you generally don’t what to create your character in total isolation of the world and its people. Our everyday experience is greatly influenced by our interactions big and small with the people around us. In creating your character the way they perceive the people around them and react to them will tell the reader as much about your character as it will about the people they encounter.

Think about what stands out to you when you first meet someone. Include these traits, for example, habits, mannerisms, attributes in your character’s observations.

For your main characters you usually won’t have the luxury of someone describing them in the same way as you can describe minor characters through your main character’s observations. Of course, there are ways round this, such as overhearing a conversation of people describing them, or the main character looking in the mirror. However, using these methods to describe your character’s appearance often comes off as lazy story telling or at least very amateurish. Of course, as with everything, that is not say it can never be done well but try to avoid it where you can.

Instead try to suggest, rather than tell, your audience information about your character. For example, in Muriel Spark’s Memento Mori she does not explicitly tell you the character’s age. However she transforms everyday tasks into long, laborious affairs that suggest the character’s frailty and age.

Writing Exercise

Think about visual clues that can suggest age, such as teeth, wrinkles, greying hair and posture. Use these to create the description of your character without mentioning their age. Focus in on the detail, the more specific you can be the more powerfully it will convey the idea to the reader. Try to stay away from the little, kind old ladies with bad backs. Perhaps try it out on an elderly person behaving badly and ageing disgracefully!

Conclusion

It can be easy when writing to want to lay everything out for the reader, to make them see everything you are imagining. However, we must remember, that reading is not a one way street. Your reader should be able to imagine and feel your world. They should become fully immersed in your universe. They do this by engaging with the story, by using their own imagination. If you set out all the facts plainly for the reader to see they won’t have to work so hard. Give the reader just enough room for their imagination to fill in some of the details!

Monthly Writing Exercises: Show Don’t Tell