Character movement: how to make it work

Photo of a sharpened pencil, next to pencil shavings and small, gray pencil sharpener

Writing about movement can be challenging but is excellent practice for a writer. It can help to improve descriptive skills, as well as to enhance the reader’s experience. Movement could be physical, but it could be an emotional state of mind too.

Writers can use words to create an image of movement in the reader’s mind, allowing them to feel as if they were part of the scene. To keep a reader engaged, you must keep them turning pages.

In other words, you need to ensure that your character — and other characters — move around.

If you want your character to proceed, tell your character where to go. Tell them to go to the library, the market, or see the doctor. It sounds simple on the surface, but it isn’t always!

But do not tell them where they cannot go.

That’s a basic rule of good character movement.

6 tips for moving characters around

Here are some tips to ensure that your characters move.

  1. Pick a goal for the primary character.
  2. Brainstorm achievements or failures of that goal.
  3. How do the other characters in the story feel? How can you accurately reveal their feelings? Are they aware of the primary character’s goal? Do they help or hinder them?
  4. Write the first sentence.
  5. Write the final sentence.
  6. Flesh out the scene in between.

In summary, you can use all of the above techniques to ensure that your characters are not static but are moving within the frame.

The more you can make other elements in the frame move, the more you’ll notice that your characters will stand out.

So what techniques do you use to keep your feelings moving?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.