12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 5

Day 5


If John walks past a dead person, he’s not going to mention it and move on. If the guy Lila likes suddenly likes her, she’s not going to skip past that news in one short sentence.

Look for “important moments” in your story and make them stand out. Make the character notice so the reader notices too.

If something changes–a character, a situation, a relationship–make sure we “see” it change or the impact will be lost.

**Also watch for emotional moments that change the way your character sees life. 

I could write:

The beam of the flashlight landed on my sister floating in the creek. And I screamed.

Or, I could do this:

I panned the light across the arm crooked over a fallen tree, shifted to the lavender jacket,  and ended on the strands of hair that fanned across the water.

This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t be happening.

Adrenaline shoved me into the creek. Pushing my phone into my back pocket, I scrambled over the rocky bottom. Icy water soaked my jeans thigh high, shocking my skin. “Please let it be someone else’s arm,” I begged. “Someone else’s jacket. Someone else’s hair.” Someone else’s sister.

But it wasn’t. I knew even before I flipped her over and pushed away the tangled hair plastered her face. Under the moonlight, her eyes stared at nothing, black and fixed and huge.

Which way gives the character and the reader a more emotional connection?



When all twelve days have been posted, you can find them here–12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips.

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 4

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 3

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 2

12 Days of Christmas: Writing Tips Day 1

For more tips, see Monday Writing Minute.

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