Readers Can’t Read Your (the Author’s) Mind

Yesterday, I was at the writer’s meeting. And yes there is no rest for the wicked and writers. Does that mean that wicked writers are insomniacs?

During the review of a fellow writer’s weekly output, I found that her protagonist did not act right (in character) at the end of manuscript.  The writer said that she hadn’t told anyone that the protagonist was a fighter.

I had to put a sock in it to keep from yelling. What I told her was she needed to go back to the beginning of the story and show that the protagonist is a fighter, knows how to fight, or show how they learn or learned how to fight. If nothing else you have to tell the reader that the protagonist is a fighter.

What I was trying to say was, the reader can not read your mind. It’s your story. It’s your world. But the reader will not get it if it’s not on the page. It may be clear and logical in your mind, but the reader will not understand if it’s not written down. You, the writer, have the right to ignore everything anyone says about your writing. It’s your world, your words, but you have to communicate to the readers. You have to communicate the basic feelings, beliefs, knowledge, and passions of your characters. Those things have to be on the page. Shown is the best way to build a character in the mind of your reader, but telling will do in a pinch.

Don’t go for a surprise or twist ending where the hero suddenly knows how to do the right thing out of thin air. Show that the hero could have gotten the knowledge somewhere in his daily life or along the story’s journey. Even if it is as crazy as a real life example of my grandfather who read dictionaries when bored and there’s nothing else to read, so he knew the answer to stupid riddle in the newspaper that had everyone stumped.

Stay strong, write on.        Professor Hyram Voltage.

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