The Eighth Rule for Writing a Modern Novel

March 12, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Avoid Detailed Descriptions of Characters

This is one I’ve definitely broken in my first novel. In fact, there used to be a lot more, but I edited it out. I love hearing about characters, as long as they are ones who are important to the story.

Now, I’m guessing this advice is trying to tell you to introduce more of them in during the story, rather than just in a huge description at the beginning of a novel. But, as a reader, I don’t always like that. I’m sure there are people out there who, like me, do like a detailed description; a chance to really get to know the characters at that outset of the story. Sometimes novels that stick little bits of description between lines of dialogue really bug me. It’s like trying to make a meal when someone’s hidden the ingredients all over the house!

Also, avoiding detailed descriptions can get tricky with some stories, and yes, I haven’t succeeded in my first novel. I honestly can’t think of another way to do it in that one, though. In any case, I guess that some people like that kind of thing and some people don’t.

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