1. Pej102

    Pej102 New Member

    May 30, 2015
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    Tasmania, Australia

    Leaving out general details in a work to reflect protag's way of thinking

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Pej102, May 31, 2015.

    By this I mean leaving out details like a city's or country's name because the place is the characters whole world and it simply 'is' to them and leaving out family names or even real first names in lieu of nicknames because that is just how they know others, with families being irrelevant people in a different world to their own. Perhaps even leaving out an easy description of an event and instead describing a particular situation from the perspective of someone who doesn't comprehend it the same way. For instance, if they were watching a political debate on television but political concepts, the commentary and the people in it meant nothing to them then they would see something dramatically different to what the average, normal-person-who-cares-about-such-things would see.

    I think that writing like this may convey the protagonist's patterns of thought and personality in a subtle way, without having to bluntly describe how detached the character is from such things. Hopefully it would be easier to put the reader into the subjective headstate of the character, which is my goal. Would like to hear opinions any of you have on this. If it is a bad idea because readers will want to know or that it is simply not an effective way to go about it, etc.

    I hope I've made sense here..
    hawls likes this.
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Mar 9, 2010
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    This is my default preference, both as a reader and a writer. Fiction that steps too far back and explains to me, generally annoys me. Not always, but more often than not.
    Lemon flavoured likes this.
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    I think it's a fine balance. You need to describe more than a character would generally notice, I think, in order for the story to make sense. But you don't want to overdo it, of course...
  4. Victoria Griffin

    Victoria Griffin Member

    May 25, 2015
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    I think that sounds like a natural way to incorporate the character's view of the world, rather than force feeding the reader. As long as there is enough detail for the reader to follow along, I don't see a problem. Your beta readers should be able to let you know if there are specific issues.
  5. Tea@3

    Tea@3 Senior Member

    Dec 18, 2015
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    Well said.

    These two comments just 'clicked' with me. Been weighing how much legal lingo to pepper into my story, and now after reading this I think what I will do is stay on the char's POV, as in perceptions, reactions, emotions, etc instead of pulling way off the trail to give a side bar which the reader (shock!) doesn't want to read anyway.

    Thanks, ladies! :supercool:
  6. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
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    El Tembloroso Caribe
    You have, and I think it's something many of us struggle against. I know I do. I preach a lot about trusting the reader, not treating the reader like a dolt, but I too go back through my work and find places where the seagull is explaining to Ariel that this is this and that is that. What you describe (the part you would rather leave out) is narrative intrusion, the author's presence in the story guiding the reader, giving characters engagements they would not naturally, organically have. I laughed when you mentioned the bit about naming place names. In my WIP, I decided long ago not to concern myself with giving my world a name because seriously, how often do we say the word Earth, capital E, in conversations that are not about world-building or planets. My two protags are a fisherman and a lord's son. They aren't talking about planets or world-building much. :) If a moment comes along where there is an organic, natural reason to name the planet, I'll deal with then, but if not...

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