Introducing Characters: Creating First Impressions
It can be hard to come up with different ways to introduce your characters or ways that will really make your character stick in your readers’ minds. You might have done the ‘have your character describe themselves while looking in the mirror’ too many times and it can become tiresome for readers. In order to avoid clichés, you have to familiarize yourself with what works and what doesn’t. Read the first few pages of some books and see how the author chose to introduce a specific character and you’ll quickly find out what you like and what you don’t like.
Creating a first impression of a character takes some time and preparation. The main problem most people have with introducing characters is that the beginning of their story can become too “telly”. Instead of thinking of creative ways to describe someone, writers sometimes tend to info-dump. Info dumping is when you give a bunch of information at once that’s usually crucial to the plot, but done in a boring, obvious, or intrusive way. In order to improve your characters first impressions, try these tips.
Introduce your character through action
One of the best ways to introduce a character is through action. Try having your character do something interesting that also explains their goals and personality. Think of an exciting situation that reveals something instead of just telling through narrative. I’m not saying there needs to be a huge car chase or a big action sequence, but we should be able to see them in action right away. For example, if you want your character to be introduced as a hot-head, maybe open with them in an argument with someone. If you have a shy/meek character that always gets stepped on, try opening with them getting talked down to. Don’t tell us “Amy was shy”, show us.
Get to know your characters first
You cannot give a proper first impression of your character unless you know your character very well first. In order to reveal certain things about your character over the course of your story, your character can’t be a mystery to you. They can be a mystery to your readers, but not the writer. Develop your characters first and then think about how you want them to come off when they’re introduced. You have the power to control what your audience thinks and feels about your character (for the most part)!
Think about what you want your audience to know
As the writer, you have the power to keep information from your readers and you have control over when they get it. This is important when making first impressions. The character’s introduction can also be a lie. Maybe they’re not who they say they are and they trick even the reader. If you’re creating a character like this, don’t avoid introducing the character—work on introducing the façade of that character, or who they are pretending to be. Think about what you want your audience to know and you’ll have control over the first impressions your characters make.
Are there any good ways to describe the smell/taste of blood without using the words metallic or coppery?
Holy shit there is a really great answer to this out there go read it now.
(Note: Smell and taste are very closely connected, and chances are you’ll use the same descriptive words for both.)
Advice: Pitfalls of Publishing Parts of Novel Online?
I'm working on a scene involving two well trained vigilantes going in and shooting up a crack house eliminating everyone within. They will have high powered weapons against more mundane street weaponry. I'm going for hard, gritty and gory and not overly long. Any suggestions?
Over-penetration comes to mind. Assault Rifles are designed for uses at up to 300 meters. Battle Rifles are designed for use at twice that range. Even with 9mm rounds in an urban environment, you run a real risk of bullets passing through your intended target, through the dry wall behind them, and into an innocent bystander across the street. To say nothing of a bullet missing its mark, which will happen with fully automatic weapons. With assault rifles this gets even worse, as the bullet will continue until it hits something.
Shooting up a crack house isn’t just saying that no one in there deserves to live, which is actually a much more complicated issue than you might think, but also that anyone living within a block or two of a crack house is worthy of death. It demonstrates a kind of general depravity you just don’t want for a hero, even an anti-hero.
Yeah a submachine gun or a short barrel pistol cartridge assault rifle. No over penetration and less clumsy inside houses.
Over-penetration is still an issue with handguns and SMGs. A UMP .45 doesn’t have remotely as much over-penetration as an M14, but it still has a real chance of blowing through the drywall, insulation, traveling across the street, punching a hole in another building’s siding, insulation, and drywall before making a home for itself in a bystander. Cranking it up to full auto just keeps rolling the dice until your character comes to their senses or finds a window with a stray shot.
There are SMGs like the KRISS Vector, that have better recoil control, but even if your character knows what they’re doing, and is firing in short controlled bursts, they’re still going to miss.
There are also Glazer safety slugs. These are frangible rounds that are designed to shatter into harmless dust on contact with anything solid, but they also cost a lot more. Glazer rounds run a little over $3 a bullet at retail. There are legitimate reasons to use these, but the odds of some highly trained vigilantes being both reckless enough to hose down a crack house with automatic weapons, while simultaneously being conscious enough of the area’s real estate value, and wealthy enough to afford spending $80 a magazine for the weapons they’re spraying around indiscriminately… does this really sound right to you?
The reason I singled out the 9x19mm round is because it has a reputation for over-penetration. Sure, a 10mm or another exotic will outperform it, but 9mms are common. The trade off there is to actually go for the slower .45, which is somewhat less prone to over-penetration. But, again, and I can’t stress this enough, if your characters are just hosing a place down, they will kill people they can’t even see. Unless you are extremely lucky, and hit the studding, interior walls do not stop bullets.
Also, remember, the originally question specified high-power weapons, that’s the .30 rifles. There are battle rifles that still have a home today, the H&K G3, FN FAL, and M14 are all weapons that reflect another era of battlefield combat, but they’re still deadly in the right circumstances. However, you are correct that a crack house will never be the right circumstance for them.
Character Development: Positive Parental Figures
Types of Love
Love, while wonderful, isn’t black and white, and it sure isn’t simple. There are lots of different types of love and we experience different types with the various people in our lives. Here are the types of love:
- Romantic Love. This is often what people think of when they first think about love. Romantic love occurs between two people who are in a relationship and care deeply for each other. They are attracted to each other as friends, as well as physically and emotionally. Romantic love is the love we feel for our partners, and is often accompanied by things like butterflies in our stomach or thinking about them all the time.
- Companionate Love. This is the kind of love we feel for our friends and we can also feel it with our partners as they grow into being our best friends. Companionate love is emotional and spiritual but lacks the physical aspect that romantic love has. With companionate love we care deeply about someone, love the way they contribute to our lives and want to see them happy. We are comfortable with them and have a routine of being together that bring happiness and comfort to both parties.