1. Want2Write
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    Want2Write Member

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    Self description

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Want2Write, Apr 9, 2013.

    Hello All,

    So this short story I am currently working on is narrated by the hero himself. Hero is a well-built and handsome man, and is admired by everyone. How do I describe that in the story? Hero describing himself as well-built didn't sound nice. I am planning to keep the conversations to minimum. Kindly advice.

    Thanks
    W2W
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    He doesn't have to describe himself - just have other people notice him, girls checking him out, maybe have him sign for some school event because he's the organiser and so very important. Convey his attractiveness and, I'm guessing, arrogance, with his environment, how he reacts to the things and people around him and vice versa.
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does he get up in the morning and first reach for the hair gel? Does he spend every spare minute in the gym? Is his match.com inbox full everyday?

    Tell us about the character, your genre, your setting...
     
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  4. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Why not? Why ever not? It depends on what your hero thinks of himself and how you want him to come across as a character.

    I looked at myself in the mirror. Not bad for my age. Well built. But then I do work out. I was the original seven stone weakling. But after my family were driven out by thugs, I knew I had to get tougher...

    Vs.

    I looked at myself in the mirror. I always do. What a hunk! Back, sac and crack tomorrow, and then some oiling. It's what the ladies expect, after all. Bugger! A nasal hair... Now where's my frilly shirt?
     
  5. Want2Write
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    Want2Write Member

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    Ok. Here is the description of the setting. It is a short story that has a single scene depicting the romance between the couple. When the heroine's beauty is explained through hero's eyes, i want to point out that the hero is a macho man. Hope that helps.
     
  6. Want2Write
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    Want2Write Member

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    Hi swampdog, hero is not someone who talks so highly of himself. He is a leader and a gentleman. For e.g., he is like that spartan king from the movie 300. I cant imagine he's saying things like 'look at my muscles... my six pack tummy'...

    He is stunned by the looks of his lady love. I want the readers to know that he is the most admirable man too...
     
  7. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    that's a setting?

    I'd consider a setting to be; in a hotel suite, freshly filled bath, champagne on the side, with wi-fi. (wi-fi showing modern times)

    Desolate log cabin.

    On a bus.

    Leaving the castle.

    At the airport.

    c'mon W2W - help us help you
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Looks like we replied at the same time

    "What are you thinking about?" said the heroine softly
    "How gorgeous our babies would be" the hero replied seeing his own reflection in her pale blue eyes.
    "Love yourself don't you?"
    "Why wouldn't I? You've seen that 8 page pullout on me in GQ magazine".
    "Such a show-off, you only won the Mr Muscles because the favourite pulled out at the last minute".
     
  9. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Perhaps clarify what you mean by admirable. As others see his looks and physique? Or character traits and personality? Or both? And what of 'macho man'? That can imply a degree of vanity.

    And do you want the character describing himself directly, or only hinting though his actions? Or others describing him?
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could show him effortlessly lifting something heavy, indicate he just got home from the gym, have other characters say things to him. It would still be helpful to know more about the setting of the story and the scene. You mention 300, which I recall being out, and people talking about, but never saw. Does your story take place in ancient times or present day? (Or some other time?)

    The most effective way to show his good looks and macho-ness is by his interactions with other people and their reactions to him.
     
  11. NewAgeFiction
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    NewAgeFiction Member

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    He should also be self-conscious somewhat in a "shy" sorta way (shy doesn't mean bashful). He knows he's goodlooking, but knows that it's the least of his concerns in life. He just happens to be blessed with an attractive look and sometimes gets annoyed when he's gawked at. He has much more important things to focus on, and is too preoccupied for arrogance anyway.
     
  12. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    I agree with others that say he shouldn't just come out and describe himself. No one looks in the mirror and thinks/says, "Wow, look at my wavy brown hair and muscular physique." If you want readers to know he's strong, have him pick up something heavy. If you want readers to know he's good looking (and remember, everyone will bring their own version of good-looking to the table), have a girl turn around the look at him on the street, or just let him love interest admire him.

    I like reactions much more than descriptions, and only in context.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    just avoid the tired old cliche of seeing himself in a mirror... or store/car window, etc.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't do it at all. Let the way people react to him indicate his charisma and good looks. The details don't matter. Better to let the reader fill those in with his or her imagination.
     
  15. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Cogito is right. Most good-looking, rugged, masculine guys don't describe themselves. They don't preen before mirrors. They just get on with the job.

    Is it really important to you that the reader thinks your hero is a hunk? If so, why? In most cases it doesn't matter. If it matters in your case, then the reader will gather whatever information they need about your character's appearance by how others react to him.
     
  16. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    This right here. Show don't tell. Have faith in your readers to have the intelligence to figure it out.
     
  17. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    As a good looking, rugged, masculine guy who doesn't preen himself before a mirror, and gets on with the job, I can say you are very right.

    ... Really? Facebook tells a different story.

    If he's a handsome, shredded unit, but you want him to appear nice, I wouldn't describe him at all. He'll look shallow. Perhaps he can overhear someone saying he's carved out of wood. If it were me I'd just go with what Swampdog said.
     
  18. Kendria Perry
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    Kendria Perry Member

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    You don't need to describe the way a character looks unless it's vital to your story (like in "The Ugly Duckling") or it's a basic fact (like their race if you don't want them to be white, which is considered the "default" race).

    In your case, I'd just insert a side comment into the girl's dialogue like "You're pretty cute," or something, unless you want the guy to be narcissistic/shallow (most beautiful people in general are, but it's not a rule.)
     
  19. Sue Almond
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    Hi. Clearly the idea of letting the reactions of others indicate what the hero is like is a favorite among the replies and I am sure that is good advice. I was curious about this post because only last week I asked my writing group to write down five facts about themselves (a fairly new group) I then told them we were not going to share what we had written but discuss WHY they chose the 'facts' that they had. They all said they had assumed we were going to read them out so we discussed whether it would have made a difference to what they wrote down if I had said it was a 'for your eyes only' exercise. Our session was about what is it important to include when introducing a character. I don't recall single reference to looks in all the comments, which they decided to share at the end just for fun. So it seem as if looks are a low priority when people write about themselves and as other replies suggest might only be a priority for the more self absorbed, arrogant type. Perhaps you would tell the reader more about his personality than his looks in making him describe himself and it could be difficult to make it all positive.
     

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