Character using mirror to describe physical change important to the story - Page 2

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  1. #11
    With the prevalence of YA vampire stories I think that nowadays any character would look at themselves in a mirror with some trepidation just to check that they hadn't ended up in one ... but you were asking about clichés, weren't you?

    Well, that's another rule that I broke with a sledgehammer, but then if one is going to break a rule perhaps one should go for it wholesale, especially to avoid a lame cliché rather than one that strides out confidently. The opening to my solitary novel is a monologue by a character who isn't the main one directed at her image in a mirror (HERE). Opening with dialogue plus not opening with the main character plus a mirror cliché -- just how many rule-breakers could I have built into an opening? Eventually one sees everything in stories as clichés though and if they are written in a mediocre fashion then that is all that they are, tedious routine plot devices. On the other hand, written well they are still entertaining, which is ultimately what matters to the reader.

    To make things potentially worse my opening isn't just a simple mirror device but an explicit Alice-through-the-looking-glass moment where the character actually offers to change places with her reflection. However, whether that offer is accepted is left in doubt and the reader can only read the story to discover whether I have used a hackneyed dream device mimicking the Alice stories or done something else. They could just trust the words that I wrote directly after the novel title "(about something else)" of course, but readers allergic to clichés will see them on every page anyway and few people are willing to trust a novice writer.

    If you are concerned about using a mirror then use some other reflective surface instead and introduce an element of surprise into the scene. I like to present apparently trivial details into a scene and then reveal them as being significant to the story later (but that's probably a cliché as well). Perhaps your character could first notice her facial colour in the back of granny's old silver-backed hairbrush, the one that you had for no obviously good reason previously mentioned her keeping for sentimental reasons. Maybe it had been granny who had warned that there might be days like that in her future, implying that granny had been a bit of a clairvoyant and maybe was still watching over her. It's just a thought off the top of my head, which itself barely has enough hair to warrant my using a hairbrush these days.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  2. #12
    I consider anything you want you write "okay." Tell your story the way you want.

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