Advice from the Masters: Charles Dickens

Feb 29, 2012 | Better Writing

Charles Dickens was born 200 years ago. His first novel was Pickwick Papers. The first installment of it came out in 1836 and the complete novel was done in 1837. It’s been in print continuously since then. In fact, every one of Dickens twelve novels have been in print from when they were finished right up to today.

The characters that Dickens created in those novels are even more amazing. I’m sure you have your favorites and your own image of each one. Mine are David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Uriah Heep, and, especially, Ebenezer Scrooge.

Note that I said, “image” not “description.” When you read Dickens you imagine the characters and the places. That’s what he wanted from every writer. His advice was simple.

“Make me see!”

Make me see the people and the places and the processes. Don’t simply describe them. Make me see them.

Want more? Check out the complete list of Advice from the Masters posts.

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