Running With Scissors

Ok, so that’s the edits in the bag.

Coffe Book Session by ugaldew.

Today I finished reviewing all the feedback for this round of Night’s Favour.  It’s been a bit of a thing, wrestling with it and how to best include it (if at all).  It’s been fascinating to see what different people pick up in the draft.

The hardest thing by far was character descriptions.  A few people (not all, but a sizeable number) mentioned they were having trouble visualising the people in the story.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to shoehorn a heap of descriptions in there, then yanking them all back out again: rinse, repeat.

See, the problem is the books that I read don’t really have character descriptions.  Take The Steel Remains, by Richard Morgan.  That book’s awesome.  The first two chapters introduce two different characters.  The descriptions provided?  The first is a “scarred warrior” and the second dude wears sheepskins.

That’s it.

Despite the lack of description, I tend to fill in the blanks – I make those people into the images I think they should be (and maybe one of them ends up looking a bit like me, or my neighbour, or whatever).  One of my readers suggested this might be because those dudes conform to established fantasy tropes, which is probably part of it; also possibly in “cop fiction” (which Night’s Favour skirts close to) there might be more description.  For example, I sure as shit know that Jack Reacher is about 28 feet tall (and I know he doesn’t look like Tom Cruise).  But!  I also suspect a different thing at play: a couple of my characters are similar in terms of dialogue.

The solution I’ve gone for is not the suggested one (putting in descriptions); sometimes the solution to the problem is not the obvious one.  I’ve instead:
1. Differentiated two strong female characters by saying one has “amber” hair and the other has blonde hair touched with grey; and
2. Renamed two characters, which was significant and quite striking throughout the book.

We’ll see if it flies.  If it doesn’t, then everyone else is wrong, and they should go read Richard Morgan, because he’s better at this than I am and describes people less.

Huzzah.  I might take the day off tomorrow.  Or, I might wrestle with how to publish a book for Kindle.  It’s a toss-up, you know?

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