Write Better Fiction: Characters Mentioned In A Scene

Feedback iconToday on Write Better Fiction we’ll cover the Characters Mentioned in a Scene. Write Better Fiction is a process to help you critique your own manuscript and give yourself feedback. This will help you improve your novel, so you’re ready to submit it to an editor. Check the bottom of this post for links to previous Write Better Fiction articles.

Sometimes a character does not have a role in a scene but is referred to by another character. This could be in dialogue, thought, dream, an eMail or phone conversation.

Why would you do this?

  • To remind the reader of a character if you haven’t written about them for a few scenes or chapters
  • To show the character through the eyes of an other character
  • To foreshadow an event that will affect the character
  • To give the reader a clue or red herring
  • To show the POV character’s goal, personality trait, or attitude
  • To keep the antagonist in the readers mind if the antagonist doesn’t have any POV scenes.

This is a column that I fill out when I review each scene. Once the spreadsheet is complete review the column and plot how often characters are referred to. This is similar to a first character appearance diagram.

Once I’ve finished, I review the column for each character. I’m looking for:

  • Big blocks of time where a character disappears
  • Sections where a character is mentioned repeatedly but then not for a while
  • Mentioning an unimportant character too often

Your challenge this week is fill out this column with the characters mentioned.  Then review you major characters and see how often they are mentioned. Too often? Too Little? Too much time passed between being in a scene or being mentioned?

I critiqued DESCENT and BLAZE using the techniques I’m sharing in Write Better Fiction, and I believe this helped me sign with a publisher.

Please me know in the comments below if you found this exercise challenging. Did it help you improve your character arcs?

Thanks for reading…

Other blogs on the topic…

Write Better Fiction: A Character Enters A Scene

Write Better Fiction: Characters in a Scene – too few/too many?

Write Better Fiction: #1 Question To Ask About Characters In A Scene.


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