Describe your characters literally but, by describing what they think, say and do, describe them in more depth.
Writing is the land of Show and Tell but does anything we write ever only have a literal meaning?
When we read, we translate words into pictures.
Lucas raised his hand and stopped the car.
When working with year 6 pupils, I would ask them to read the sentence and then to list at least six things they know and six things that are inferred to them. I would also ask them to write the six questions they want to know the answer to.
If you don't want to play along here are some examples.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW:
Can use his hand and arm
There was a moving car
Lucas stopped the car
WHAT IS INFERRED:
Lucas is not driving
There was traffic
There was a road
He used a Police halt sign - hand palm forward
There was a driver - to put a foot on the brake
The car was moving at speed/travelling
WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWERS TO:
Does Lucas have powers?
Was he in the car?
Why did Lucas stop the car?
Where was Lucas?
Was Lucas in danger?
Is the driver in danger because Lucas stopped the car?
The image created in the reader's mind is based on their knowledge of the world, the books they have read, the movies they have watched and, perhaps, prior knowledge of my novel STARRING.
When writing a novel only part of what we write is meant to be read literally but some of the most concrete sentences are meant to convey the opposite meaning. Only when we are writing metaphors do we always mean exactly what we say.
There had been the usual birthday thing: Lucas went to bed aged eight and woke up already nine. There was a cake. Some of the staff and the kids in his class - he hadn’t had time to make friends – had wished him Happy Birthday. But that was the day he’d messed up his Apt Test and had his memories laundered. And his parents had disappeared back to Kongria. So the thought that worried Lucas, and made him toss and turn at night was had he really had a birthday? Was he really nine?
lackadaisical, laconic, laid back , languid, laughable, lazy, lecherous, led, left out, lethargic, levelheaded, liberated, lifeless, light, light hearted, likable, lionhearted, listless, lively, livid, loathed, loathsome, logical, lonely, lost, lovable, loved, loveless, lovestruck, loyal, luckless, lucky, lustful