Establishing Character with a BANG
So how do you weave in characterization without obtrusive info dumps? Through action, dialogue, and character responses to situations. I think my favorite way of working in characterization is through an action scene. The way a character responds tells so much about their personality.
Instead of telling about a character through narration, show a character's personality through a scene. A couple weeks ago I posted on narritive summary vs. active scenes and this links right to it. To keep a reader engaged and interested in your book you need to let them draw their own conclusions . . . but don't be too ambiguous, then you run the risk of your reader not connecting to your character.
In Self-Editing for Fiction Writers Browne and King devote an entire chapter to establishing characterization and exposition. They discuss the pitfalls of dumping characterizations on readers. If you have too much characterization right up front you run the risk of boxing in your character also you make it so the reader can tune out and become disengaged from the book. To keep a reader interested you need to let them draw their own conclusions about the character through their actions.
In Smolder the way I introduce Brett to the readers has always bothered me, I know its one of the weakest aspects of my book. After reading the chapter on characterization I took another look at that first introduction. I realized that the readers don't immediately connect to her. I've rewritten the section several times now and I'm still struggling.
So tell me... What book stands out in your mind for really establishing character with a bang?