1. Sariel
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    Sariel New Member

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    Character Descriptions

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Sariel, Aug 15, 2013.

    So basically I have this idea in my head of how I see my characters and to even help me see it better I create them with 3D models but when it comes to writing them in a setting I just don’t know how to spit it out! I feel that when I write what they look like it feels like I am listing attributes. How do you describe your characters? Do you have any links to helpful articles? This is one of the main issues I have when I introduce a new character. Thanks :)
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Try and describe their features through action and dialogue. For example, if your character is tall, say something like, "Bill ducked through the door/Bill knocked his head on the doorframe." If her character has long brown hair, then say "As she ran, Sarah tripped over her brown hair and lay sprawled upon the wet grass."

    Obviously these are just quick examples. You can simply state that she has long brown her, though, but don't overdo it. :)
     
  3. morepages
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    morepages Member Contest Administrator

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    Use all 5 senses! By describing how your character smells, sounds, feels, and so on, you are building an image in your reader's mind. If I said someone was "rough-handed, with a deep bass voice and stinking like fresh pine and metal tools", you would say that he was probably a lumberjack, even though I never said what he looked like.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Personally, I prefer less character description. Maybe just covering a couple of key features. The reader is going to develop a mental image of your character almost immediately, so the description that is likely to stick is whatever you give pretty quickly after the character is introduced. Anything beyond that has the potential to conflict with the image the reader has already created in her mind, which can be jarring, and either way will probably be ignored in favor of the reader's own mental impression.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There is an entire section of this site, this section in fact, with plenty of recommendations and strategies.

    To start with, though, try to move away from lists of attributes and focus instead on behavior and reactions to sets of conditions. Physical appearance and a bagful of adjectives really aren't that important.
     
  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    What Cogito said. Get to know your characters from the inside. Figure out what makes them tick. Play with them in your head, put them together and see what happens, how they spark off each other. Take time with this, until they become solid and real to you. Then the story will start to write itself.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    read fiction by the best writers [does not always = the most popular] and see how they do it...
     
  8. badgerjelly
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    badgerjelly Member

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    Try some different techniques out and post them here. In some cases people may summon a similar image to you from the dialogue and surrounding environment.

    I think it is always good to throw in a striking contrast too if you want a certain feature of a character to stick out. Something like "The strangers towered above her small frame" or "His black hair seemed to shade the daylight". I personally would only use this if I wanted a particular characteristic to stick in the reader mind.

    I just have to share one of my all time favourite descriptions from Dickens :

    "Mrs Gradgrind, weakly smiling, and giving no other sign of vitality, looked (as she always did) like an indifferently executed transparency of a small female figure, without enough light behind it."

    Genius! :)
     

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