Guest Post: Altering the Reader’s Perspective by Ryan Lanz

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Thank you to Ryan Lanz of A Writer’s Path for this excellent article about word choice in fiction writing.

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Who doesn’t like the thought of being able to direct someone’s thoughts or emotions? Sure, it’s typically in fantasy only, but I’m sure most have skirted around the thought. When we imagine someone doing so, it’s usually an evil villain’s doing, involving elbow-length gloves and an over-sized, veiny head.

But actually, we writers do this all the time. We use words at the tip of our brushes to paint the reader’s emotions. We essentially angle wording in a way to guide the reader how to feel.

Now, you may be thinking, “Ryan, that’s ridiculous. The readers come to their own conclusions.” And yes, they do. However, let’s visit an example.

Brian turned toward me and held the baseball bat in front of him. He looked around before heading in my direction. He passed, then he laughed.

Compare that to:

Brian swiveled on his heel and reached across the table for the tip of the baseball bat’s handle. He held it front of him for a moment before his eyes flicked up toward me. The distance between us dripped away. At the exact moment he passed, he chuckled in my ear.

It sounds a heck of a lot creepier the second time, doesn’t it? The information essentially stayed the same, although I intentionally chose verbs and descriptive words that I knew would paint this character as creepy.

Writers do this all the time. Here are a few other swaps you can do. See how they change your perception.

To continue reading, click here.

 

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

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