Offer Your Readers a Coloring Book

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Writer's Little Instruction Book: Craft & Technique by Paul Raymond Martin

Think of your story as a coloring book, with characters and scenes presented only in outline. As the story unfolds, the reader colors each scene based on his or her knowledge and experience, creating a personal rendering of the story. Te details you provide influence the reader's choice of crayons, especially in the genre of fiction.

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Consider the opening of Dean Koontz' The Face of Fear:

Wary, not actually expecting trouble, but prepared for it, he parked his car across the street from the four-story brownstone apartment house. When he switched off the engine, he heard a siren wail in the street behind him.

Koontz mentions the brownstone apartment house, but did you feel the gray and the other somber colors? Or did you feel the sunshine splashing everything with vivid colors? You colored the scene in keeping with your knowledge and experiences.

When you write your story, offer your readers a coloring book…and plenty of crayons.


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