View Full Version : What do you consider trying too much in talking about your MC

04-08-2009, 01:32 AM
I dont think I phrased this correctly, but when talking about your MC, describing him/her, what do you consider trying too much when your trying to hint at your main characters background or intentions?

04-08-2009, 01:45 AM
I think I know what you mean. Your question hints at the ol' infodump concept, yeah? My particular writing style is very minimalist and quick-paced. I generally have the whole novel "written" and then go back to add background information if it's needed. I have found that if I write the characters as if my audience already knows what I'm talking about that most of the relevant background info falls in to place organically throughout the story. Does that make sense? After I've written a first draft I'll let my betas go over it and tell me if something is confusing or not explained enough. Then I'll add it in.

I'm a big believer in the high intellect of my readers; most likely they'll figure everything out that they need to figure out about my characters and what drives them. Write strong characters to push this.

Barring that very obscure advice, I find that if it takes me more than a four or five sentece paragraph to explain something then I'm explaining too much.

FYI: I despise dream sequences, flashbacks, excessive monologues, and all those types of devices writers use when they think they're being sly about slipping us (the reader) info. But that's just me.

I hope this was helpful, but I'm on Sudafed right now so it may make no sense whatsoever.


04-08-2009, 01:52 AM
MissKriss speaks truth.

When an author tries too hard, it shows. It's definitely an art form. I'll always remember one particular moment early in Judy Blume's Just as Long as We're Together. The narrator's best friend reaches for an object, and the narrator says something like "as she did, her hair, which is reddish brown and curly, brushed against my arm." I must have read that at age nine or ten, and already its clunkiness jumped out at me.

04-08-2009, 01:52 AM
Lol. Thank you I understand what you mean, both about the MC and the Sudafed. Feel better!

04-08-2009, 01:57 AM
Yes wandergirl, I think Ive read something like that, I dont remember where but its the redundancy that tends to bother me.

04-08-2009, 06:13 PM
I try to background as much of it as I can. If the protag is afraid of spiders, I don't say it, I just have a spider pop out and have her scream. (very simple example here) I create my setting and world details so that they allow my character to think and act in ways that show how they feel about things, and even what their history is. If I want the reader to know a particular trait, I look for ways in which to show that trait in action. If they're a good person, they do nice things, or are polite. The girl who gives her cab to an old woman on a rainy day is very different from the one who pushes past her to grab the cab first. You can find (and create) tons of little moments like this in your work to show your protag's personality.