When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.
Today’s tip: the Walk-on character.
You know, the one who enters the story as a cameo–in the background like furniture. You notice him/her as part of a particular scene but with no particular purpose. I’m talking about the waiter, the doorman, the bank teller–the supporting actors who move your main characters forward.
Don’t describe them unless it adds to the setting or the plot. Here’s what I mean. You may describe the tight low-cut t-shirt of the Hooter’s waitress, but no need to discuss her sparkling blue eyes or her single-mom status unless she’ll be part of the plot. Don’t confuse your readers. Don’t get them vested in a character or trying to remember details that won’t add to the storytelling experience.
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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, Technology in Education featured blogger, and IMS tech expert. She is the editor of a K-6 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-6 Digital Citizenship curriculum, creator of technology training books for middle school and ebooks on technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.