So you can read my books

Tuesday, February 1, 2011




What am I going on about now?


See? I've engaged your mind by my title.

I.) Just like you have to engage the mind of your reader.

A.) If you don't ...

1.) Readers will have nothing to do with their imaginations ...

2.) They become passive, restless.

3.) Finally, they grow bored, leading to ...

4.) Becoming non-readers!

B.) When you think Author/Reader think of a partnership like marriage ...

C.) Your imagination married to that of your reader's.

II.) Take characterization -

A.) If you want to really know someone :

1.) Watch what they do.

2.) Listen to what they say.

3.) Look to see if the Talk matches the Walk.

4.) If it does, that tells you something important about that person.

5.) If it doesn't, that tells you something even more important.

B.) Don't say Jill is a back-stabbing tramp, rather ...

1.) Show her best friend going to the hospital for an extended stay.

2.) Show Jill inviting her friend's husband over for a nice home-cooked meal for a change.

3.) Have Jill get the husband ...

a.) first, drunk.

b.) then in her bed.

C.) Draw the reader into making her own conclusions about your characters ...

1.) By showing the world through your character's eyes.

2.) By revealing what makes your character laugh or cry or swear.


Maija looked down wistfully upon the unconscious teenager bound on her gold throne and smiled.

Where to maim first?

His eyes? No, she wanted the boy to fully take in his surroundings : the human heads mounted on the marble walls of her throne room, the steel chains snug around his body, the hopelessness of his situation.

His impish tongue?

No, Maija wanted to hear his screams of agony and his cries for mercy.

His eyelids flickered. He was finally awakening. Good. Maija squirmed in esctasy. His torture would be such a marvelous birthday present to herself.

Victor Standish awoke, consciousness returning almost instantly. His eyes widened at the mounted human heads as he looked up at the smiling Maija. His smirk stole her joy.

"Who's your interior decorator," he laughed, "Stephen King?"


But by their end, you know quite a lot about Maija. Her station in life. Her mindset. Her mental health. You even know a bit about Victor Standish.

Yet, I've said nothing directly about either Maija or Victor.

III.) When you present your readers with already-arrived at conclusions --

A.) You've left them with nothing to do with their minds.

B.) When you make them come to their own conclusions by DIALOGUE and ACTION

C.) You've made partners of them and the images of your characters crystalize firmly in their imaginations, taking on a life of their own.

IV.) Bore your readers and soon they'll divorce you for a more exciting, engaging partner.

A.) A few bold and subtle brushstrokes of prose on the canvas of your page ...

1.) leads your reader to fill in the rest of the scene
2.) making her a partner in your story.

B.) And it removes limitations to the depth of the characters about whom you write.

C.) Write intuitively as you go along ...

And your novel will go places that will astound both you and your happy partner in prose, the reader.


  1. Great advice Roland! Love the Calvin and Hobbes you have up too

  2. Summer : You can never go wrong with Calvin and Hobbes. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I try to be of some small help to my fellow writers.

  3. Walter : Only in my imagination. LOL. I have a feeling Jill's past is full of Jacks.

  4. Great post! I particularly like the way Victor Standish reacted to his situation. :)

  5. ...also Jacks are full of Jills. LOL.

    insightful post

  6. Alison : Thanks. I try to be helpful while being entertaining, too. And yes, Victor tries never to buckle under to a bully, natural or supernatural. It's his mantra. LOL.

    Imagery Imagined : At least that's true for the Jacks I know. :)

  7. This was really a great post. It's all about showing, and you did a fantastic job.

  8. Great post, and pertinent for me as I struggle with the "show" don't "tell" rule. You've illustrated it beautifully here.

  9. Excellent post, Roland! This is SO true. I liked your excerpt too, and want to read on to find out WHY Victor is smirking--and how he'll get out of that situation!

    It's great to let the reader make his/her own conclusions. The funny thing is, sometimes the conclusions are slightly different, and it's amazing what diff readers pick out from a scene. I discovered that with critique partners. Depending on the personality of your critter, you can get varied reactions. Like one can say of a MC: "she's such a wimp and lets people walk all over her," contrasted to another who will say: "she's so nice and gentle, and those mean people are taking advantage of her." Interesting...

  10. I love that idea, thinking of it like a marriage. That's kind of brilliant! That's a good way to never forget your reader, which is vital. Great post!

  11. Any time you put Calvin and HObbes up on your blog, you make me very, very happy.
    Great point, too, about the writer and reader. I did pay attention to the other stuff!