Forums » Character Help

How much is too much?

    • 10 posts
    September 7, 2014 9:44 AM EDT
    My main issue is that I've read too much advice that says to trim out the details. Well, I trim and then the characters are just not there. They are fine and well in my head, nice and lively. However, on the page, they are lifeless after the details are gone. How much detail is too much? Examples of good stuff/bad stuff is welcome as the writers I've read online have just about every quirk removed and not much left to flesh out the character into someone the reader wants to get to know and get involved with their story.
    • 1 posts
    September 8, 2014 5:22 PM EDT
    I think, in the end, the author is their own greatest advocate. If we lose the passion, if we lose the voices, then there isn't anything left to work with and to draw excitement to the page. I love lots of detail, setting a scene with my words.

    I have a lot of people who read my writing, and say that they absolutely love it, that it makes them feel like they were standing there with the characters. They attribute this to me being a "good" writer, but I don't think that's it. I feel average. BUT I know my characters. I know their personalities, their quirks. I understand their motivation and why they react the way they do. The readers don't. I see it as my job as a writer to help them understand what I hear in my head from the myriad of characters constantly jabbering.

    I think there is a fine balance. But in the end, it comes down to the author. Writing advice can only take a person so far, and pulling all life from your vision means that the writer isn't as motivated to delve deeper into the story either. I feel we should all write what works best for us, and just let the words flow. In the end we can edit, true, but we always need to be aware that we don't want to edit the life and soul from the piece as well, which is a definite hazard if we listen to others instead of our own voice.