Avoiding blind spots

man hiding behind ask mark

All writers have blind spots with their writing. The idea is to identify them and start avoiding falling into the trap.

So, what do I mean by blind spot?

An easy example is a writer who loves action. You’ll find their fight scenes, dynamic rescues and car chases are extremely detailed. You the reader will be drawn into the stinging smoke of a house fire while the hero battles through flesh-melting heat to escape…

This is not a blind spot (in case you were wondering). The blind spot comes from another aspect of the story.

This action writer might barely touch on their characters having any real past. Instead the character appears, reacts, fights, escapes but we know virtually nothing about him. That would mean the characters past, their background, their history is the blind spot.

The writer is so caught up in the parts of the story they love, that other parts that develop character, create texture and context can be ignored.

What about an other that works hard to visually describe their world and characters. Wonderful, readers need a some imagery to visualise what we are reading. But this writer could take their readers on a trip through the market, the bridge, past the lake, into the manor house… and all we get is visual – how everything looks.

That blind spot would be a lack of senses. Remember most people have 5 basic senses that help us perceive our environment. Not to mention everything from a scent, to a touch to a sound can evoke memories, ideas, paint pictures.

When it comes to creating our worlds and characters, we need to consider a vast array of things – characters need to be developed, not just physically described but so much more. What is their history? Do they get on with their family? Where they raised under a certain religion? Do they have illnesses? Have they been injured? What scares them? Who do they trust? How would they react to losing their job?

Remember, we are more than the sum of our parts. We are more than our physicality. Our complexity comes from many experiences, reactions, interactions, histories, genetics and more.

The same goes for painting the world, the landscape, the mood, the weather! Think about how to create this image.

Writers have to walk a fine line between giving too little information and giving too much. This is why learning what your blind spot is will help.

I’ve read books set in a normal city and no character seemed above the age of 30. Stories where it was hard to decipher who was speaking but the manner and voice style was exactly the same for each character.

A good method for finding your blind spot is through other people. Let someone read it and ask for their honest opinion. They will usually (if they are being honest) point out something. Might not be as specific as “you never describe sounds”. Usually you need to look at what they’ve said and try to d figure out the reason.

For example, if someone says “I didn’t really feel any connection to the character.” That could be because the character is a little one dimensional. You may not have built them up enough for the reader to truly engage with them, to feel considered about them.

Have a think about your work – read it through and try and see if you can identify something you skip over. Ask a friend or family member you trust to read over it and see if they can point out something. Once you have an idea of the blind spot you can consciously work to correct it (without over-correcting through, right?)

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Hope you enjoyed this post. Next week I will definitely go back to the World Building!Feel free to leave me a comment, say hi, or even suggest an article you’d like to see.

There will be another guest blogger on Tuesday so do make sure you pop back then.

Happy writing

Ari

PS: Thank you to all my awesome followers and watchers who have visited this blog and liked the posts. I have now reached 200+ likes! That makes me very happy. 🙂

Capture

NB: Photo purchased from depositphotos.com (supporting other creatives):)

9 thoughts on “Avoiding blind spots

  1. Really great advice. 🙂 I tried to help someone by explaining that I wasn’t as connected to their main character as I was with all the other characters but unfortunately they felt I was criticising their work…Oh well!

    • Thanks for the comment 🙂

      That’s a shame, that they took your constructive criticism badly. Too many writers see any comment that isn’t praise as negative rather than as a chance to develop and grow. It was good you tried to help them improve. 🙂

      • They were far too sensitive, actually cut me off as a friend :o! I thought about blogging about it, keeping names out of course, anyway it is a shame as many writers including my former friend’s book was really good, just needed a bit more to truly make it a great novel.

      • Wow that is waaaaay too sensitive. I know us writers can be a little highly strung and a little manic about our work, but we all know constructive criticism is totally necessary. That person is going to struggle to get better if they are willing to throw away a friendship rather than accept help. I think that would be a good blog post to write, might make other writers to think before lashing out at their critics.

      • I’m afraid it’s worse than that. I think my so called friend has a narcissistic streak. I was helping them put together their own online presence and well long story short, I gave then a review plus some advice, helped them with their online presence and they suddenly lose it and stop contacting me :(, especially surprising as this happened the same time I had an accident and was in hospital.. Not sure I should write up all that information, lol

      • Wow, that is one bad friend. To just throw away your friendship after all you had done for them. That is even more saddening that they would do that when you were going through so much. I am sorry to hear that you went through that.

      • Thank you for your kind words . I think I will blog about it tomorrow, it will certainly help as it’s been a nagging thought in my head lately. I’ll have to word it carefully though. Just in case they read it. I do hope they can learn and become a writer who can take criticism, after all we all have to deal with some form of criticism and anyone publishing their book may have to deal with the odd silly amazon review. Thank you again for letting me talk about this. Your post is really good and I will keep reading your blog :).

      • I am glad you felt you could talk about it. I’m always here if you ever need to talk. I appreciate your kind words about my blog, I am still always bemused when I get likes and followers and people saying nice things. I always feel like – “why are people liking my blog?”… guess low self-confidence is still something I’m dealing with.

      • Don’t worry, I had such low confidence when I started blogging. I’m equally happy yet surprised every time I get a like, I now have 115 people following my blog (108 from wordpress) and all I do is write reviews and a few random other things! Your blog deserves every like and follow you get :), I know I only started reading but I really do enjoy the blog posts I’ve read so far (just been a bit busy lately to read more).

        Again, thank you for the encouragement to blog about my lost friendship. I’ve been thinking about how to word it right and I thought I’d create a post tomorrow bringing up a discussion so other writers will (hopefully) participate and give their ideas on constructive criticism, etc. Anyway, I’ll stop waffling on now, lol. Keep up with your blog :)!

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