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Don’t Forget the Real People

Don’t Forget the Real People

Charlotte Brontë had this one right when she wrote,

Reader, I married him.

Your reader is a character in your story, and your reader’s most important relationship is with the narrator.

Keep in mind who’s speaking (even if the speaker is the narrator) and who’s being spoken to (even if the listener is the reader). Share the details that make sense in that relationship.

Depending on the relationship of the speaker to the listener, a description might consist of

  • physical details;

Purple curtains shaded small windows.

  • how the room makes a particular character feel;

The small windows and dim corners made Nancy uneasy.

  • what the room says about the people who inhabit it;

The family had never found a reason to update the purple curtains and gold upholstery.

  • what the room is missing;

The old man had been sleeping here, but there was no bed, no chair, and no obvious means of keeping warm.

  • what the condition of the room reveals;

Someone was obviously proud of his trophy collection.

  • the purpose of the room; or

The Johnson boys had been bringing girls here since 8th grade.

  • generalities.

It was an unremarkable room.

Try writing character sketches of your narrator and reader, then writing your story as a conversation between those two characters.