Friday, October 4, 2013

You Present What You Think Matters

The way somebody describes another person, or themselves, tells you a great deal about the speaker. When we describe a person, we have to say what sticks out. We need to focus on defining characteristics so that he person in question is in some way memorable or identifiable. Because of this, the descriptions somebody gives explains how he or she defines people. 

For example, if I were to describe myself, I would largely avoid the physical. It seems silly, but I just don't look at myself physically. I think of myself as a thinker - I would talk about the thoughts I have and the subjects that I enjoy learning. I also think of myself as a doer - I would talk about the activities I like to do and what company I keep. I would never think to talk about my shaved head, my beard, or my skin color because they don't matter to me - they are not how I define myself. 

With that said, sometimes I do have to find a way to make sure people can spot me in a crowd, then I probably would mention those things. But that really depends on what everybody else in the crowd looks like. If they all have beards and shaved heads and white skin, then I would mention my clothes or jewelry. 

Ultimately, as an author (and as a person), you will present things and people in the ways you think matter. It is part of that fundamental uniqueness, part of your authorial voice. 

As a reader (and also as a person), pay attention to the things people present. They will say just as much as, if not more than, the words they actually use. 

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