Last time we talked about some ways to sneak your character into a scene when you don’t want to hold up a big old sign saying “HEY GUYS, OVER HERE!”
With that in mind, here is the continuation of our list!
As cliche as it is for a character to have a special memento which reminds them of someone or something, it can also be a really great way to give a character away to the reader without the other characters in the scene being the wiser.
If someone were to assign me items which would give me away, it would no doubt be crazy socks and my Nanowrimo hoodie. So for instance, to sneak myself into a scene, I’d write something to the effect of:
The peculiar woman was staring. What the hell for? It wasn’t like he was dressed strangely, unlike her wildly colored knee-high socks.
See what I did there? The point of view I’m writing from has no idea who I am, but you, the reader do, because you are aware of my affection for stripped socks.
I love using this one, because there’s always a story behind the object in question. For instance, one woman is consistently marked by her jeweled hair clip, which she received as a gift from her sister before she disappeared.
I hesitate to put this one in here, because it’s more about how to reveal a character than how to hide them.
But here it goes. History is also a valid way to out a character. When you use a character’s history in order to show the reader who they are, basically you take two strings and tie them together across your story. For instance, in the first scene, a character mentions that they were involved in something called the “Keria Conflict”. Later, an unnamed person talks about how they took part in the “conflict in Keria.”
That’s the most obvious use of history as a tagger. You can also use speech or a recalled line to show that the character in question has been present before. For instance, your character notices a man standing behind his friend at the courthouse. Later, that man comes to him offering revenge and says:
“Nothing so frightening as a woman spurned. Isn’t that what you said on the steps of the capital?”
It’s shown that the character was there when he uses a quote and says it’s origination in the story. As I said, it’s more a way to out them than to hide them, but I enjoy this kind of surprise on both the reading and the writing end.
So there’s your points. How have you slid a character in sideways? What are your favorite sneaky things to do?