Character Traits/Information Give-a-ways

by D.C.

Question: I have a huge problem. Is it important to just hurry and get most of the characters introduced and explained as soon as possible so they can get on with their lives/story? Obviously I don't give everything away at the beginning, but is it alright to have vague characters? And of course you throw in twists and surprises but how much. What is the minimum? And what's the maximum I give at the beginning? It is essential to the plot of a particular story whether or not I give away the most important information about a lead character to the main character at the end of the first journey or at the beginning of the next.

Answer: You must realize that a lot of what you are asking here are things that only you, as the writer, can decide. There are no hard and fast rules for when you introduce characters or when you provide information. Obviously, you can't introduce everyone and everything at once. Things have to unfold in a certain order for the reader. And there's nothing wrong with a little suspense. Readers expect to learn more as the story progresses, and characters need to learn things at certain points because a bit of information can affect their actions. Sometimes too a character can be mentioned early on but not appear until the final act. You have to trust your feelings of how to arrange your story, because different arrangements will have different emotional impacts

Here's what I suggest. Write out a point form outline of your story, or put each of your events, each introduction, each revelation, onto an index card. Try arranging and rearranging the order of these elements until you discover an order that feels right.

It may take a little time, but it will be worth it.

Comments for Character Traits/Information Give-a-ways

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 16, 2011
Good Idea!
by: D.C.

Thanks. Yes I know that I have to decide all of this. That was a great suggestion though! I'll try that.

Feb 12, 2015
by: Clerk

I am very grateful to this blog for helping me to know the basics for writing a book. I have been preparing for writing a book since last month. After visiting this blog I got more confidence. I have bookmarked this blog for future reference.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.