…that ye be not judged. Matthew Chapter VII verse i King James Bible
First of all I recognise that I need to look beyond first appearances. It’s too easy to dismiss people with assumptions and not make the effort to tease out their story. I need to observe actively, with more empathy.
The same goes for portrayal. Even the minor characters can be more than just ciphers with a bit of effort. The tiny receptionist with her tightly plaited hair muttering ‘Work isn’t important, hey handsome?’ behind her boss’s back as he wanders off – she’s too good to waste.
I also need to dig deeper, to talk to people my mother warned me against. I will admit to a certain degree of cowardice on this one – but I know what I aspire to:
But oh how I need to be aware of the voice that disapproves of people. A close relative of the Inner Critic, it needs shutting up. In my work, I must let the reader see what the characters do, hear what they say – and leave it at that. Let the reader decide – provide no commentary from my interior Hyacinth Bouquet or even the closet fashionista.
I don’t need to pass any remark on Bermuda shorts, coral rubber beach clogs and sports socks pulled up to the calf, do I?
Finally , although not all adjectives and adverbs are an evil – they are suspect. This is how the nasty little Imp of Prejudice airs its views. Before I have even realised, it has sneakily slipped a stereotype into my story. Not only is it patronising, it’s lazy.
I wonder what tips my fellow writers have for exorcising this particular demon?