14 April, 2009

Seeing Is Part Of Believing - Musings of an Author

One of the things I went out of my way to avoid while I was writing "Finding Emmaus" was physical descriptions of my characters. With few exceptions, I kept them very superficial:
- Frank is tall and, at 60-something years old, has grey hair
- Hannah Moreland is petite and hyperactive, much like an arachnid
- Alice Bond is tall and stately, very slender, moving through her home and her life like a wraith
- Katherine is short with long hair and Sally has a figure to die for

But that’s about as detailed as I got in most cases and that was deliberate.

As readers become more and more involved in a book, I think they ‘see’ what’s going on inside their heads and, as part of that, ‘see’ images of the people who play out the story, and imagine the people in a way that makes the story more meaningful to them.

My feeling was that I would detract from that individual, highly personal experience if I superimposed some arbitrary physical description of a character which might be contrary to what the reader needed to see in order to believe in it.

And that would benefit neither the reader nor the writer - and do the story itself a great injustice.

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