Continued analysis of Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers as part of the DIY MFA Writer Igniter Reading Challenge. For more details click here.

This challenge was fun because it created a visual representation of the way an author portrays characters. For this prompt, I read to see if the author described characters through his or her thoughts, actions, dialogue, or appearances. As a visual learner, this form of analysis resonated with me. Unfortunately, the section of the novel I am currently reading takes places during a “noble silence”, so dialogue didn’t play a significant part in these chapters.

The first character compass graphic is for Lars. This was only the second chapter from Lars’s perspective and therefore Moriarty could give him dialogue via flashbacks he remembered during his meditation.

The second graphic is for Jessica. This graphic mirrored Lars’s because it was also the second chapter from Jessica’s perspective and she, too, was meditating.

The third graphic is for Frances. Because she is the protagonist and we’ve already read more about her, Moriarty varied her writing style by showing less of her dialogue by way of flashback conversations. As the graphic shows, this chapter focused on Frances’s thoughts and actions.

Analysis: as a reader, it was interesting to identify the various ways in which an author can present a more thorough picture of characters in a novel. Varying these depictions, like varying sentence structure, leads to more interesting reading. I think one of the reasons I like Moriarty’s writing style is that she tends to lean heavily on thoughts as a way of developing her characters. This is something I would like to strengthen in my own writing.

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