Have your characters see themselves in mirrors


Joe Stockley gave himself a wry grin as he passed the full-length mirror in the hallway. He was a striking figure, well clear of six foot in height and made to seem even taller by the exquisitely tailored morning suit he had thrown on effortlessly yet perfectly that morning. His eyes twinkled with the playful intelligence of cynical wisdom which informed his every action. The grin he gave himself was one of quiet recognition rather than vanity, for self-regard was a vice he had studiously avoided in his quest for perfection.
Meanwhile, Joe’s wife Angelica waited for him patiently at their regular restaurant table, idly turning a highly-polished spoon over and over in her hands. As the light flashed off it, she caught a glimpse of her own face, breathtakingly beautiful even with the distorted reflection the curved surface of the spoon offered her. Her deep brown eyes shone with the light of compassion which had emanated from her for as long as anyone could remember, bathing all who met her in the glow of her kindness and love. With the slightest motion of her hand, she summoned a waiter.
Antonio, who had been admiring Angelica from a discreet distance, did his best to glide effortlessly as he approached the table. Looking up, he met his customer’s eyes and was about to speak when he saw himself reflected in their soft radiance. He was in his late thirties, athletic in build and outwardly self-assured. The slight creases around his eyes betrayed a lifetime of both tears and laughter. Reflected in them, he could faintly make out the darkened window of the restaurant, which in turn reflected an image of himself standing at the table holding his notepad and highly polished pen. In fact, so highly polished was the pen...

20 comments:

  1. Excellent post! Always enjoy reading them!

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  2. I love them too and am amazed at your creativity. But shouldn't that be 'discreet'?

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  3. Unless of course, he was observing her from an individually separate and distinct distance.

    Thanks – I've changed it.

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  4. so funny - guess I better go change some things...

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  5. Great post as usual. This could also be under the category "conveying more with physical appearance than could possibly be conveyed" or "make all your characters flawlessly beautiful".

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  6. Joel, you are good at this... almost too good. Honestly, are you just posting extracts from your High School writing journal and/or your submissions to Mills & Boons?

    This is my favourite: "she caught a glimpse of her own face, breathtakingly beautiful even with the distorted reflection the curved surface of the spoon offered her."

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  7. Joel, I just discovered you. I can't stop laughting. I see I can subscribe with RSS, but those just get lost in the jumble. Do you offer subscriptions by email? That way I won't forget you, not that you're easy to forget.

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  8. Very old-romance-novel you've got going here... not to mention the headhopping.

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  9. "Do you offer subscriptions by email?"

    Good question. Does anyone know of a good way of automating this?

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  10. I think you can do that on feedburner.

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  11. That's jus so perfect it gets to be hilarious.
    Love your blog.

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  12. Who the fuck are you to say how to write well? I don't see YOU on any bookselves...

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  13. Ah, Anonymous, your charm and presence illuminate so many blogs.

    Joel - brilliant.

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  14. The exception to this rule: if you're writing the novelization of a Quantum Leap episode.

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  15. This ought to be submitted to the Bulwer-Lytton contest.

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  16. I like that he's named "Joe Stockley"--self-inserts are also a pet peeve of mine.

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  17. And then the sun came out and the glare off all the reflective surfaces blinded everyone.

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