Lets get shallow. How do you chose character appearance? And why? Or discuss any other aspect of the subject you find interesting. Personally I think character appearance is fun and useful, but a two edge sword. On one side you can use it to make powerful unconscious connections, and on the other side prejudice and bias. For example, I have no illusions that fat people really is any different from other people except perhaps for a few habits. But making a character fat in a story can be used as a negative marker because we have a society with a strong bias about fat people. Or that the character should be pitied. Or that the character wont play any sexual role in the story, as a romantic interest or otherwise. Or let generally have character we should connect with and identify with look good or at least cute. Or let someone have long fingers, or small eyes, or dress like an emo kid. Anything you chose will send a message beyond the mere physical facts. Part of me things its great and a fantastic tool, part at me hesitates as creating and upholding biases through using these messages in writing. Still I come to use it, some times mercilessly. Like writing a short story about the sort of person you just want to strangle and leave to rot, partly building up to this feeling by describing a person as fat, sweating and panting. It might not be OK, politically correct, realistic, or fair but it do make a useful tool because or society has told us to despise fat people. On another note I generally tend to avoid describing anyone in a way they could be mistaken for anyone I know, if I don't do it as a cameo appearance or a tribute. Or saying that someone look good or not, but convey that through other peoples actions and reaction because it more fun writing that people checking out someones ass etc.