Western Banded Gecko
Arizona’s Western Banded Gecko is one of my favorite desert critters. This little guy, right outside the front door, almost landed under my foot. In the evening light and on the concrete, he was nearly invisible.
Even in the light, his coloring is fascinating and nearly camouflaged. Doesn’t his translucent skin look baby soft, and just as delicate?
For Writers: Webster’s defines translucent as “allowing light, but not detailed images, to pass through; semi-transparent.”
Our characters need to possess this same translucent or semi-transparent quality – especially early on in the novel.
As the author, it’s your responsibility to shed some light on your main character’s personality early in the story. But not too much. Readers enjoy the gradual revelation of character, and they enjoy hints that they can later piece together. “Oh. Now I know why John was so preoccupied with saving stray animals,” you say, when you learn that his childhood neighbor was hauled off to jail for animal cruelty.
By giving the reader only some of the details early on (key details), you continue to create suspense and let her draw conclusions. Because, let’s face it: no one wants to read pages and pages of character back story all at once. The main character’s hopes and dreams, fears … they should be sprinkled throughout, brought to light at strategic moments in the story.