Plot Devices Pt 1: The Old ‘Don’t Know You’re Looking’ Ploy

So, this is part 1 of the expansion on the post which had my friend Clare’s comment in it.

Once upon a time…

I said that I would talk a little about how you can move your plot line on and just wanted to expand on Clare’s point about seeing the realness and depth of someone’s character when they don’t know you’re looking.

Although this is true, especially in the case of romances, I think that it can work within many different relationships when writing a novel. It’s true that when we think no one is looking we do things we wouldn’t normally show others.

Like when people in a car somehow think that no one can see them and their windscreen is made of tinted glass – ‘IT’S NOT, SO STOP PICKING YOUR NOSE ON THE MOTORWAY!’

In a novel it is much the same thing. You could use it when showing a person’s character and perhaps show a depth or a trait that otherwise would be impossible to write in. Have you ever thought that? I want to show they’re this but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to write that well.

Writing Techniques - Philippa Jane Keyworth - Regency Romance Author

A hero and heroine c. 1420

For instance, if you are wanting to write in that a woman is particularly generous let’s say, but the problem is she is also humble, so there is no way she would say she is generous and no way that she’d tell any of her friends so there’s no way for that character number two to find out.

How about when she thinks no one is looking, she gives an extra coin to the stable lad who kept her horse because she talked to him earlier and knows he’s hungry. How about she also says, “Take this, no fuss! Now run and get some bread before anyone sees. Go on, run!” ……Perhaps someone sees? Or perhaps just the reader sees.

Writing Techniques - Philippa Keyworth - Author

What a dashing hat…

Within a little aside to the storyline you have just showed that this mysterious lady’s character is both kind and humble.

In terms of romances, it’s an old favourite ploy of mine to get the hero (who’s never such a hero to begin with),  to observe the heroine a little. In these observations, though at first he’s not interested, he soon sees unusual qualities he did not expect in her – AH! The start of love!

It may be something you’ve heard of before or it may be a completely new idea, but just remember, as much as there is dialogue in your book, a lot can be said for just watching as well!

Have a go and let me know how it goes……?

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