1. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    Describing an attractive character without sounding cheesy

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MissRis, May 15, 2012.

    My MC (call her Sofia) is trying to describe a devastatingly handsome character (we'll call him Stavros) that she's meeting for the first time. Sofia is seventeen, but overly mature. She isn't boy crazy. And would never say, "Oh. My. God. He is SO hot" and fawn all over the guy. She's fairly aloof about these things and would be more likely to say something sardonic like, "Do you expect me to swoon because you smiled at me?" and roll her eyes.

    Stavros is one of those men that exudes sexuality, intentionally or not, and sends her into overdrive. (Keep in mind it's for a YA audience so let's keep it PG-13). He has an older man allure (he's in his early to mid twenties). I don't know if this affects it, but he is also a character with a fair amount of power. Although Jose is young, he sits on a Council of elders (we'll find out his father was killed in battle and Stavros was the heir for his position).

    Brief description of Stavros:
    Tall: At least 6'4", maybe taller
    Trim build, not overly muscular.
    Jet black hair
    Bright blue eyes
    Strong jaw
    Romanesque nose
    I think of Ian Somerholder when I write him...;)

    Okay ladies (and gentlemen) I need perspective. I find everything I write sounds like a horrible romance novel.
     
  2. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I try to keep the physical descriptions short (because they quickly become boring), and try to show how attractive the character is through their own attitude and through people's reactions to them. The more different ways you can hint at the character's attractiveness, the stronger the impression will be.
     
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  3. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Maybe you could show that she thinks he's handsome by how in depth she goes into his appearance. Maybe she notices the little details with him than she notices other characters. but she quickly covers it up by making the witty comment said above, making it obvious to reader that's she trying to deny she thinks he's attractive to him.

    To be honest, that description already sounds attractive to me but that's pretty subjective~

    This is a tricky one for me lol but I still tried to help. I really do hope this helped :3
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't describe the person any more than necessary. Give a vague detail or two, and show your character's reaction. Let the reader fill in the rest from her (or his) lusty imagination. The reader will build a more bodacious fantasy person.
     
  5. Afion
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    Afion Senior Member

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    You could make it more about her reactions to him than what he looks like: "He glanced over at me and I felt my cheeks grow red. I'm don't usually blush much." Obviously something a bit less cliche than that but you get my general idea :D
     
  6. hadou
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    hadou New Member

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    Give the essential characteristics of a character; the reader will fill in the rest with his or her imagination. Add in behavioral traits to complement described physical features; this will aid the reader as well to create an overall image of the character.
     
  7. Metus
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    Metus Senior Member

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    I agree with Cogito. Everyone has different ideas of what constitutes an attractive character. Keep it vague, because what you find attractive is likely different from what others find attractive. Let each reader fill in their idea of "hot" by going light on specifics.
     
  8. KazuHirA
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    KazuHirA New Member

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    Make the character sexy/attractive without using going into physical details. For one, I suggest ignoring things like bone structure or the way his face looks as those are things a character cannot control. Go into things he can. Like his style, the way he wears his jeans or whatever. Describe his style instead of his appearance, his physique(does he work out?) as opposed to his looks. Course, it's important to fit in his physical appearance, but you should try to define your character by nitty bits of who they are as opposed to what they look like.
    Maybe it's just me though...either way, that's my advice on the matter.
     
  9. Gnarly
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    Gnarly Member

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    I find, that with characters like "Sofia" I almost make them aggravated by their own attraction. it makes it sound more real. They don't like that they find this person handsome. Things like "Stavros is probably arrogant. I bet he forces his reflection upon every mirror he crosses paths with, forcing it to show his handsome features of (insert the features)." ... then go on to say "His physical prowess cannot be denied, although I wish very greatly that I could deny him, if he ever made a pass at me." ... I hope this is of help. That's just how I would do it... Or something of this nature.
     
  10. Silhouette
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    Silhouette Member

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    I think generally anything you describe about your character physically should reveal something about their personality (or the plot).
    If this guy knows that he's attractive (particularly if he has always been attractive) then that will have affected his personality. He'll carry himself as an attractive person. So instead of telling us he has beautiful eyes, you could tell us that he makes very firm eye contact, or always seems to be looking down at her, or any number of things. Combining this with your protagonist's impression of these features (maybe she feels that he tries to manipulate people with his looks and is annoyed that it's working on her) should give us greater insight about both of them.
     
  11. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    When I run out of ways to describe something, like a hot chick. I flip the scenario and describe an ugly chick and the reactions I'd have if I saw her looking at me and winking or if she was wearing a slutty dress. Once you've grossed yourself out, try and find words that replace the flipped scenario with the actual plot.

    I tried to hide my stares but couldn't help to study the woman that just walked in. I had no idea where her hips started because the massive rolls mounding along the side of her overly-tight dinner dress that is far to revealing for a woman of her figure. Apparently the crowd agreed with me because she scanned the room and saw everyone staring and instantly ran out of the restaurant.

    -Inverted-

    My unconscious wouldn't allow my glassed over eyes to fixate on anything else but the perfect figure that just walked into the door. I had no idea a woman could be this beautiful. She had muscles where it was attractive and curves where it counted and knew how to compliment every bit of her God given beauty with a sexy party dress and stunning make-up. Apparently I wasn't the only one staring but she knew what she was doing and walked right in as if this was a scene she's walked into a hundred time before.
     
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  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    This. Show her reactions to this guy but keep descriptions short. The reader will understand he's attractive and will form an image of him according to what they associate with that kind of guy.

    Plus, hearing you referring to a guy 20-25 as an older guy (ok, he's probably older than the mc, but still) made me laugh. I certainly didn't think of 20 year olds as older guys when I was in my teens. Older guys were still men in the same age as my father... :) It also shows how immature she is so I find the fact that she'd be that witty and cool about him a little unbelievable, to be honest.
     
  13. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    The trouble with beauty is it's kindof a stagnate gift. The others offered some great advice in having your character react to your heros beauty , and also in keeping the description brief. For me I think of sexy , hot guys as being not just a physical presence but one in motion. I remember this great line given to Marlon Brando in the Fugitive Kind - in which Anna Magnani asks him - Why do you walk that way? ( as in so sexy! )Good idea. Try adding body language. Watch your favorite hot guys in real life or on screen and write down everything!
     
  14. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd describe him from her POV and drop in a line like, "He strolled in like he owned the room, and I despised him because he made me feel weak. He looked around him, and our eyes meet for a moment. I blushed, and was infuriated. His lips curled into a smile - I was sure he was mocking me - and then he broke away to take a seat by the window."

    Or maybe what I wrote sounds like a bad romance novel. Haha 8D

    Or simply draw attention to one detail that strikes your character as handsome. Put your character in dialogue with him - charm and wit are often the most attractive things on a man, and if you make him charming enough, your readers will fill in the physical details that fit such an attractive and interesting character :)
     
  15. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've said this many times before: You do not have to describe your characters in detail. If there's a physical characteristic your hero has that makes a difference to the plot at some point (such as that he's very tall, or short, or fat, or very muscular), you can mention that. But don't halt your narrative to give us a description of how handsome his face is. Silhouette and some others who have already posted here are correct. You can say everything you need through the character's confidence and body language, and how the other characters react to him. Too much gushing description can make your story look like a bad romance, or even an erotic fantasy.
     

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