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The Writer's Compass » About Writing, Becoming A Writer, Writing Exercises » Put the Reader into the Character’s World

Put the Reader into the Character’s World

Writing Exercise

By showing your readers what the world around your characters look like you accomplish at least two things:

  1. You help the reader feel they are part of that world, watching up close and personal.
  2. You show the reader who the character is by the details they notice and therefore what is important in that world to the character.


How do you know which details to show?

In part the genre you are writing in will help you to decide which details to use. In a mystery you will show things that are clues or red herrings to lead away from the clues. In a horror story you might show gruesome details. In a romance, the details will tend to have a rosy glow or have a dichotomy.

An example would be:

Ida stood on the weather-beaten dock at the bottom of the path and watched Jake filling the rubber dinghy with the picnic basket, thermos of hot tea, and a bottle of red wine. The river was quiet and peaceful this time of day, most people having already come in from a long afternoon of fishing or pleasure rowing. It did seem a little late for a picnic, but what was there to worry about. At 15 feet or so at its deepest point, if she fell overboard she would hardly drown, it would be easy to surface. The river was only 200 feet wide, hardly any effort at all if she needed to swim across. True, it was cold this far north, the water fed by the winter snows melting from the surrounding mountains. And the woods forming shadows on either shore did give a sort of eerie feeling she hadn’t expected. She heard a clink and looked over to see what Jake was doing. He was still bent organizing items. He placed the wine bottle in a net that he dangled over the side into the cold water. What was that sticking out from the hem of his pants leg? It looked like a knife holster. A knife? On the river? In a rubber dinghy? For what?

Did you feel a part of the scene? Did what started out as a romance, by the details soon turn sinister? We  know this character is either in danger or a bit paranoid.

In the “Comments” section write 50 to 100 words and show how you would put the reader into your character’s world while showing us something about who the character is.

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One Response to "Put the Reader into the Character’s World"

  1. Joanne says:

    A chill settled over my body despite the warm air. I had been fooled before. Ned. Jeff. But this was different. Or was it?

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