Day 27: Character Appearances

Want to join in? 30 Days of Writing About Writing

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Do appearances play a big role in your stories? If yes, tell us about them. If not, how you go about designing your characters?

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I don’t dwell much on character appearances. My rule of thumb is to only describe atypical features. A demon would have horns, which I would mention to help set the demons apart from humans. Wings are also atypical and imply flight, so I briefly describe those as well. I assume my reader can easily imagine a face, limbs, torso, etc, though I may drop a couple hints. Reina has a curvy figure, while Bane is lanky. Natiae is thin, and Kale has a more muscular build. Chances are, the reader can fill in the details based off his imagination and the character’s personality.

I, on the other hand, know exactly what my characters look like. I know what kind of faces they make when they’re upset, happy, sad, contemplative, or disgusted. I know how their eyebrows curve and lips curl, the way they stand and how they breathe. One of my goals when I write is to portray exactly that without giving into descriptions.

How do you handle appearances in your stories?

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Tomorrow’s question: Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.
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About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on October 6, 2010, in Ishy Writes! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hmm… I’m not much for describing my characters, either. I think I know what they look like in my mind, but not in a way that I can articulate, y’know? It’s weird, I guess.

    • I know what you mean. I’ve read from several sources that it’s actually better to not describe your main character in detail. That way, the reader can substitute himself in place of the hero. If you describe the hero and he looks completely different from the reader, the reader will feel less in touch with the hero. Or something.

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