Guest post by R.L. Toney, author of Bread For Adversity: 30 Days Devotional Fuel for Faith. http://everinspiringwords.com
In publishing, many editors and most readers want you to get to the point. This is especially true when selling your book or trying to draw interest from readers who perhaps have never heard of you. Most readers don’t care to know how your book ends at first. They simply would prefer not getting lost in wandering thoughts and irrelevant details.
For new or untrained authors this can really be a struggle–how much is really too much? And, how much is not enough?
Why give away all the details of your character–especially if they aren’t important to the story? tweet
In defense of brevity a here is a thought I believe is important to remember: you’re introducing a friend to your reader in the opening chapter of your book–let the reader decide if he or she will be a vested traveling mate. This applies to characters in fiction or nonfiction. This especially applies when writing to draw in people, editors included. You wouldn’t air a friends dirty laundry at the first introduction. Why give away all the details of your character–especially if they aren’t important to the story? You want to provide enough detail for people to know, but enough mystery so that as they explore they can decide for themselves whether this person is worth an investment of future time.
As a result, I think a healthy way to measure whether you’re over-sharing in your writing is:
How much is key to the story?
How relevant is it to the character?
Does it discourage the reader from wanting to know this person?
These three filters will help you be brief and concise without sacrificing important details to an enjoyable read. Perhaps with them, in your next blurb, you will find an audience to share your writings or perhaps make the sale!