Or, Avoiding the Longbottom Paradox
Readers who are invested in your story will begin to imagine the people and the places in it. This is what we want: for them to care about what you’ve created like it’s real. This means that, consciously or not, the reader is creating a picture in their minds. By adding detail too late on you can disrupt their absorption in your world by contradicting their image of it.
For example, if you want the reader to know that the character has an extraordinarily deep voice, or a strong accent, tell us that when they begin speaking. If you only share that after a significant portion of dialogue, the reader may feel as if they have been reading it wrong. Get your essential description in early to avoid reader upset.
Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher: always cut off at the knees so you can’t see he’s standing on a box.
It’s the same feeling you get when a film adaptation of a book comes out and the characters look nothing like how the source material describes them. Think of 6’5″ Jack Reacher being played by Tom Cruise. A brief Internet skim reveals that the opinionated masses believe that compared to the books, film Jane Eyre is too pretty; Katniss is too fair-skinned; Neville Longbottom looks too much like a young Clive Owen; and Tyrion Lannister is far too sexy for his (leather) shirt.
It’s fine for the reader to guess details that you don’t mention at all, it’s just when new information is introduced later that it can be annoying.
That said, you are allowed to surprise the reader on purpose, for example: ‘Betty swore internally at her alarm clock each morning, dreading another day of work. It was Monday and rain clattered into her windows. She dove further under the duvet; it was dreadfully cold. Well, no one can afford to heat draughty old buildings anymore. Eventually, the sound of her beloved dogs yapping inspired her to drag her weary legs out of bed. I suppose one must persevere, she thought, one is the Queen of England after all.’
What do you think? Has this ever happened to you when you’ve been reading?
Many classic Halloween costumes are inspired by books – Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula – but literature has so much more to offer! I have trawled the Internet and found some rather remarkable Halloween costumes for book lovers.
This guy is fifty shades of creepy. Yet still not creepier than the book he’s dressed as.
Tinted Sunglasses+Cigarette=Hunter S. Thompson
Be the coolest person in the room – come as a dictionary!
Thinking about a Lord of the Rings costume? Not another Frodo/elf/dwarf, I hope. Go as Barad Dur!
Click here for a range of books people have turned up as. This is my personal favourite.
Dress up your toddler like Edgar Allan Poe. Their friends are going to be so envious (or oblivious)! The likeness is uncanny.
If you’re thinking of an Alice in Wonderland costume, forgo Alice and the Mad Hatter – go straight for Cheshire Cat and Tree.
Or if you do go for Alice, be trapped inside a house.
Go meta and go to a fancy dress party as Oscar Wilde at a fancy dress party. Here he is looking magnificent in traditional Greek clothing.
Tired of getting out that same Hogwarts uniform every year? Try being Buckbeak instead.
I just love this girl’s face. She is very much in character.
This woman is Super Librarian. She is my hero.
What do you think of these? Have you worn a book inspired costume? Leave me a comment below!
Please do like and share.
Inspired by other brilliant bloggers and the recent US elections, I’ve been thinking: which children’s characters would I put in charge of a country? Here’s my shortlist:
Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy from the Narnia Series by C.S Lewis. There are four of them and they ruled over Narnia for aeons- that sounds like the ultimate coalition government to me! Also, they’re incredibly flexible: a talking lion tells them they’re about to be the monarchs of a magical land and they take it in their stride.
Badger from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. He’s wise, reclusive and a bit grumpy, but he takes care of his friends, even when they’re being ridiculous. He resides in the Wild Wood, demonstrating that he’s not afraid of anyone- not even weasels. Also, there definitely wouldn’t be a cull if he was in charge.
Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. Intelligent, strong and single-minded, I’m pretty sure
if J.K Rowling decided to write a ‘where are they now?’ she’d be climbing the greasy pole in the Ministry of Magic.
The Fat Controller from Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev. W. Awdry. Just because it would be lovely if the trains ran on time! He takes care of business.
I’d love to hear your ideas- let me know who you’d put in charge in the comments!