1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    How do I describe my character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by live2write, Jan 6, 2014.

    I right now hit a brick wall. I began to write my first chapter of my novel, where Hallelujah I finished the storyboard draft and figured I am doing it in first person. However, I cannot seem to find the words to describe one of my characters. I did some research online and it was very little help. I am trying to find a few words to describe the overall look and more importantly the eyes.

    Good news! With the power of the internet I can use pictures to get an idea of what ideal look I am looking for.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, writers of all levels. How do I describe a Character whose face resembles Bradley Cooper?

    [​IMG]

    It is the closest resemblance I can find. If I had the time tonight, I would make a photoshopped version of what he would actually look like with other pictures on the internet.
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why not just say, "He looked like Bradley Cooper"? ;)

    Okay, so that's not very helpful. How about:

    "He had two eyes, a nose, and a mouth below that, and an ear on each side of his head. His face exhibited a reasonable degree of bilateral symmetry. He had something growing from the lower part of his face that was like a beard, only less."

    Okay, so that's not very helpful, either. It's late; I got nuthin'. :)
     
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  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    He's got crooked eyes (they don't match) and a gouge-scar on the bridge of his nose. And his hair could use a bit of a wash...
     
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  4. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    Maybe introduce something unique that your character has but Bradley Cooper hasn't. Maybe he's a red head, or balding and conscious of it or needs glasses which he won't wear because he is too vain and his eyes look weird when he doesn't wear them, or his teeth are a problem for him or he has a habit involving his head: maybe he'll scratch his nose when nervous or when lying or pull his ear or maybe the colour of his eyes are worth mentioning because neither his mum nor dad had that colour or......
    Hetty
     
  5. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    haha.....that might be 'product' that makes his hair looks like that.....
     
  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm too old for this ...!
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    He had this ridiculous hockey hairdo and narrow blue eyes. He hadn't been shaving for days!
     
  8. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    In a screenplay, that would work.

    There's a big debate as to whether that's lazy / bad writing etc....but plenty of pros use that method.
     
  9. Cailinfios
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    Cailinfios Member

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    Personally, i find the only important details your reader needs is something like: "She had curly blonde and a sharp face" or w/e. The magic of storytelling is that each reader can imagine the characters faces however they like. You need only provide eye and hair colour,a nd maybe soemthing like "He made one think of a rat" or something. Savvy?
     
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  10. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I cannot say in my story that he resembles Bradley Cooper. It sounds like an easy way to get out of the situation.

    As I said the character resembles him. To clarify further he resembles him when it comes to his facial structure, eyes, nose and mouth shape. My character's hair is a deep brown with silver frosted highlights, brown eyes, a darker scruffy face like Bradley Cooper and bushier eyebrows.

    Ridiculous Hockey Hairdo, shaved for days and sharp face. I actually like these.
     
  11. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    I'm gonna be a rebel. Why describe him at all? Why does he have to look like Bradley Cooper? I mean, you may envision him that way, but what if your reader thinks Bradley Cooper is hideous and doesn't want to see your MC as him? Have your character run a hand through his silver-threaded hair or have someone else notice his crinkled-at-the-corners friendly eyes.

    I'm just not a fan of listing physical attributes or being too specific so the reader can't imagine the character as they like.
     
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  12. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I have to go with @Motley In my MS, the narrator's physical appearance is never revealed aside from the fact she is often seen in business attire (she is a lawyer.) The MC's appearance is only given briefly when my narrator sees a photo of her sister (the MC) from when she was entered in the Miss Teen California pageant, and even then only the basics are given: Auburn hair, green eyes that matched her dress, etc...

    I have used the "looked like celebrity X" line, but I wedged it in more like "I was sitting at the bar. Some slick guy walked up, bought me a drink. He asked if anyone ever told me I looked like Katie Holmes, blah, blah, blah..."
     
  13. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I am not saying my character looks exactly like Bradley Cooper. When I think of my main character, I see that some of his features resemble him. I do not want to say he looks like Bradley Cooper just how would I describe the features in the image.

    When it comes to objects I have no problem describing them. With people I come across a brick wall because I do not know how much information to include for the reader. Some of the descriptions like "Hockey Player hair" and "has not shaved in days" can be descriptions I can use overall to add to the sharp face. What about the eyes? That is one of my biggest concerns.

    I used this picture because it gives me an idea of how I want to describe my character. Not the exact description.
     
  14. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I read a few books that the most description a character is given is how they look compared to a celebrity or how their voice sounds.
    It works in the right context and especially in first person, imo.
    Like... John Dies at the End by David Wong. Excellent book.

    And yet, he'd make such a handsome baby-daddy :p

    Maybe you don't need to describe him overly. Wild hair, six o'clock shadow and a week, an eye lower than the other. It can be done in passing, like a lazy fyi.
     
  15. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Well one method might be to describe the emotion a character feels when looking at his eyes. It's often easier for a reader to remember a facial feature if there's a strong emotion attached to it. Not only that, but you're developing the protagonist at the same time.

    Not sure what your character personalities are like, but as an example:

    So here I'm just tying his visual appearance to honesty and a feeling of sympathy from the protagonist. Perhaps something similar might work for you.
     
  16. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Wow @rhduke I do like they way you have written the description. Maybe you are right about tying in the emotions with the descriptions.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Forget description. If his physical appearance need be brought up at all, focus on how other characters, including the POV character, react to him.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    He was a young man with a distinctly unkempt air, but his smile made you forgive the three-day stubble and halfhearted haircut. And when his eyes met yours, you couldn't escape until he looked away.
     
  19. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Is there on online resource to describe eye emotions
     
  20. O. Snow
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    O. Snow Member

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    Honestly I think that the key to any description is the emotion behind it. Take the description of Denna provided in the Kingkiller Chronicles.

    "Say this, that she was dark haired. There. It was long and straight. She was dark of eye and fair complected. There. Her face was oval, her jaw strong and delicate. Say that she was poised and graceful... Finally, say that she was beautiful. That is all that can be well said. That she was beautiful, through to her bones, despite any flaw or fault. She was beautiful, to Kvothe at least. At least? To Kvothe she was most beautiful."

    The description used is nothing special if each part is viewed separately, but if read as a whole I find that there is a phenomenal sense of adoration and remorse. Hope that helps a bit.
     
  21. hvb
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    hvb Member

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  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I didn't mean I'm too old for character description, btw ...I meant I'm too old to understand hair 'product.' My Beatles generation washed the 'product' out of the previous Elvis decades' hair ...and I'm kind of stuck in that mindset. Proudly stuck in that mindset. I hate greasy-looking hair! And makeup.
     
  23. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    Am I the only one that has no clue what hockey player hair is? :D
     
  24. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I have no idea either...
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's hair coiffed with a comb that has a bunch of missing teeth. :D
     
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