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 another 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 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. Feel free to leave me a comment, say hi, or even suggest an article you’d like to see.
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