A to Z Challenge: Introduction

One of my favorite things to work on in edits is introducing different characters. To me, those first moments of getting to know a character are so wonderful that I get a happy feeling just thinking about them. Still, looking at introductions is an important aspect to edits because…



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I can think of three reasons why introductions need to be looked at. First one would be that the character is important, but doesn’t make enough of a first impression. The reader’s not going to get involved with a character if he/she forgets the character within a few paragraphs of getting introduced. So let your character’s inner stars shine from the start. Or at least a little bit to entice the reader.

Then there’s the fact that a character wasn’t really defined when you wrote him/her at first. It’s perfectly natural, because it takes time to get to know a new character. Time that can only be taken by writing the story.

Also, in the process of writing a draft, you’ll very possibly find that the character veers off in another direction as the story goes. Because of that, the original introduction and who you discover the character to be, won’t coincide.

So when it’s time to look at your characters’ introductions: look for traits that you want the reader to know from the start. Does the introduction of every character show those traits in a way that imprints the character in the reader’s thoughts? If not, you’ll have to rewrite the scene to create the impression you wanted. 

There’s only one chance to create a first impression for a character. Make it count.

Look Out for These:

1) The character seeming like different people between the first and later parts of the story.

2) An introduction that isn’t memorable, despite the fact that the character is supposed to be.

3) Readers not engaging with an important character, or failing to remember that they’ve been introduced.

What do you do to get the introduction of your characters just right?

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24 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: Introduction

  1. Character first impressions are something that I struggle with. I always try to get right situation to make the character shine and most times I edit like crazy to make it right. Great post Misha! 🙂

  2. I am really enjoying your posts. People often say to me it must have been easy to write a memoir because you already had all of your characters developed. That is not so much true. I still had to peel them back and find what made them, them.

  3. My current WIP has character issues – it's the first time I've used so many, and my betas mentioned they had to flip back to remember who was who. Obviously that's a major issue for me to rectify.

  4. You do want the character to grow though. And sometimes, this kind of growth is only possible if the character changes throughout the story. So basically, I'm saying you do want the character to be different by the end, but for there to still be enough of a connection that you see how it all happened.

  5. This is such a great post about making sure your characters stand out and make the introduction you want from them. I just do a lot of rewriting to try and get it right!

  6. Thanks for stopping by the blog! New A to Z follower here! *waves*

    Couldn't agree more about the introduction being important, both for characters and for the story. Generally I end up losing a chapter or two of the beginning during the revision process! 🙂

  7. This is where character sketches and interviewing the character comes in handy. Introducing the character's voice from the beginning helps to set the tone for making that good first impression.

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