Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How Would You Write This?

File:Manual communication.jpg

I have a writing question.

How do you fabulous writers weave diagram-worthy information into prose? I guess I've got to demonstrate its relevance to make it interesting, but I've got seven such nuggets that are fundamental to understanding my main character's race. I originally brought them up throughout the manuscript, but some of my early readers have informed me that not everybody knows what a chakra is, and without understanding what chakras are, they can't grasp why my main character filters her every experience through them.

So I'm faced with a conundrum. Do I start the novel with a fancy demonstration of a chakral alignment and just hope the reader doesn't get bored before he gets to the good stuff? Or do I insert a chakra diagram just before the title page like those drawn maps in other fantasy novels? There's got to be a subtle way to do this, right?

I'd love to hear your ideas, b/c I'm pretty stuck.

J.K. Rowling? How'd you explain the rules of Quidditch again? I need a master.

p.s. Be sure to visit Operation Awesome today to see the winners of the April 1st Mystery Agent Contest. No fooling!


  1. Hmm. i don't think it needs to be a huge diagram, but maybe just a bit explaining what Chakra is. Maybe, like, 'I opened my third eye, one of the seven chakras that run along my spine, channeling my energy.' Or something more awesome than that :)

  2. Wow, that's so simple! So simple it just. might. work. :) Thanks, Lindsay!

  3. How does your heroine discover her powers? Maybe she can't consult some expert or do some other kind of fact finding and you explain the idea through dialogue or by her reading to herself.

  4. I read your note about Avatar: the Last Airbender! Very helpful. I'll check that out and see if I can find the chakra guru episode. In this case, my main character doesn't discover her powers. It's just what she is.

  5. I would say go with a short demonstration/explanation of what a chakra is or does.

  6. Interesting dilemma. How much to you explain without boring a reader?

    I like Lindsay's suggestion of briefly describing the chakra, but in an experiential way so the info feels pertinent and integrated.

  7. Thank you, guys! This helps a lot! I've learned from you that brief is best and to keep info experiential (love your wording, lbdiamond!).

  8. I don't have any great insights. I would wonder the same thing. I'm having fun reading the replies!


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