5 More Tips for Describing Characters

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well. Today we are jumping back into character description with:

5 More Tips for Describing Characters

1 Scatter your Character Descriptions
Dumping all the information about your character at the start of your story is not a good idea. Your reader will be bored if the story is held off just so you can describe how your characters or setting look. A better idea is to sprinkle description through the story. Conversely, however, don’t leave it too long before letting your readers ‘see’ your characters the way you have envisioned them. The reader will undoubtedly have conjured their own image and finding out the character looks entirely different to how they’ve imagined can be jarring and pull them out of your story – which is not what you want.

2 Use Action to Describe Physical Characteristics
Using action to relay character description helps to keep the story flowing while giving the reader hints at what the characters look like. For example, if your story starts with a character running through a dark alley, you could say: “Ryan’s wiry limbs flailed as he threw himself down the alley, his feet pounding hard on the cracked cement road. His lungs burned and as he ran his long dirty blond hair whipped around his face, threatening to choke him with each heaving breath.

3 Clothing
Clothing is something else to keep in mind when you’re describing characters.What your characters are wearing says a lot about who they are. As well as showing off a character’s sense of style, you could also convey snippets of personality, such as a favourite colour or favourite item of clothing. Clothing and colour can also be used to convey mood. For example, an oversized black hoodie and sweatpants may indicate a low mood or conversely, light coloured t-shirts may help to show a lighter mood. It’s something that’s definitely worth thinking about when you begin to come up with your character outlines.

4 First Person Mirror Descriptions
This is a rather simple tip, but it is none the less true. Having a character such as a first person narrator looking into a mirror and listing off various aspects off their appearance is not going to fill your reader with a fervour to read more. The truth is that not only is this a rather cliched way of going about it, it is also boring and unrealistic. People, at least generally speaking, don’t say things like, “as I combed my long curly blond hair in the dressing table mirror, I couldn’t help but notice how much my eyes resembled sapphires.” You might not write something so contrived as this, but no matter how you spin it, it very rarely works.

5 The Reactions of Others
Another good way to relay character description to the reader is to have one character react to another. For instance, “Sam could feel his mother watching him. He knew that the fact he shared his fathers strong jawline, the same dark blue eyes and sandy hair hurt her. Ever since his father’s death it was like she was seeing his ghost whenever Sam would enter a room she happened to be in.” This is just a basic example, but you can see how it can be done.

As always, thank you very much for spending your valuable time reading my words, it really does mean the world.

Until next time,

George

© 2020 GLT



Categories: Characters, Writing Tips

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