Send your work at at gaia.b.amman at gmail dot com with subject “200 words” (you will be added to my subscribers’ list). Today we have the beginning of a novel. The author described the following issue:
My main issue is describing my characters. One's a cyborg with a robotic arm and face plate with a robotic eye, and the other is a head-sized spider like robot. I want the readers to understand what they look like early on to avoid confusion, but I can't seem to do that elegantly.
The room, like most other places in the lab, was white and sterile. Test Subject #142 sat topless on the white bed, covered in blood and bruises, but no dirt. The twin sized bed he sat on was too small for him, not long enough to fit his tall body, not wide enough to fit his broad shoulders.
Sitting on the bed with him was a small robot consisting of a head sized ball with a purple camera eye in the center and six spider like legs. His body was covered in little compartments and doors, and from several of them came medical equipment that wiped and cleaned and stitched 142’s wounds. The eyelid like lens that slid over his eyes were wide open as he examined and cared for 142.
“Does this hurt?” Alistair asked every so often in a robotic voice.
“No,” 142 replied quietly every time, without looking up from the sketchbook in his lap.
142 drew smooth, steady lines on the paper. His hands did not shake, his breathing was calm and slow, and his natural right eye was as steady as the robotic left eye implanted in the face plate that covered that upper left portion of his face. But Alistair monitored the little things; The uptick in his heart beat, the excessive perspiration, the tenseness of his muscles.
- Add smell to your descriptions to primp them up. Here is a post on how to improve descriptions
- You say he’s sitting on the bed twice. I don’t think it’s necessary
- The bed was too small, then later the bed was too short. This is also a bit of a repetition
- You did an awesome job of “showing us” that he’s tall. (He does not fit on the bed). Don’t tell us ;)
- Avoid negations whenever possible, they slow the narration. “Not long enough” = too short, “not wide enough”= too narrow :)
- “The eyelid like lens that slid over his eyes...” whose eyes? The spider’s or 142′s? The sentence seems a bit confusing.
- I love that you called your character 142 :)
- Spiders have eight legs (I know, I know, I’m annoying) ;P
- Make up words to describe whatever is special in your world. This is a post on world building
- What makes a description smooth? In my opinion, what helped was remembering that the narration is from the point of view of 142. So I fed informations on the way 142 and Alistair look from 142′s perspective, as 142 noticed them for a specific reason (the ache, the reflection, etc...)
- I wasn’t sure if you needed the sketchbook or if it was just a device to talk about the way 142 looks. I took it out. If you need it I recommend adding something a bit more sci-fi than a good old sketchbook ;)
The small, white room glared with neon lights. It smelled like bleach and some other disinfectant, just like the rest of the lab.
Test Subject #142 sat topless on the white bed, covered in blood and bruises, but no dirt. The twin sized bed was too too short for him and too narrow to fit his shoulders. 142 ignored the tickling of the small medibot spider examining him and prodded with his fingers the aching joint between his mechanical arm and the rest of his body. His cyborg eye detected no signs of infection.
A robotic voice asked, “Does it hurt?”
142 turned to look at the purple camera in the center of the medibot spider, which had apparently just talked to him. It added, “My name is Alistair. Does your cyberjoint hurt?”
The eight-legged medibot was the size of 142′s fist, its gleaming body covered in little compartments that opened and closed to reveal medical equipment. Its shiny surface reflected 142′s face back, the metal plate prominent on the upper left side, around his cyborg eye.
“No,” 142 replied.
“Your perspiration and heartbeat say otherwise.”
I am Gaia B Amman, the author of the Italian Saga (#TIS), a series taking place in gorgeous Italy, and talking about everything I was told is impolite to talk about ;)
I wrote, edited, designed, and published the books myself. Each one of them was a number one release on Amazon in its own category. It was not luck, but a ton of work, and I am happy to share what I learned with you ^_^
You can check out the books here (e-books, paperbacks, audio)
The books are recommended for ages 13 and above, but most of my readers are adults.
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