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Sarah Daffy

How do you like/write a character description?

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Posted (edited)

How do you like/write a character description? Do you like it long? Or short? How about descriptive? Or just plain, without much?

 

Here are two very different character descriptions:

 

Aurelia Atkins was waiting backstage for them. She was in her late twenties, and very lovely. A beautiful red dress adorned her finely made figure. Shimmering ebony hair flowed like silk from her head in soft waves to her slight shoulders. Sparkling clear blue eyes fringed by curling black lashes scanned the audience eagerly gathered before her. A faint flush was spread over her fairly high cheekbones. A finely carved face and flawless fair skin finished her off.

Her smile was friendly and she herself friendly enough. But her eyes were empty and searching, as if she had been forsaken and seen better days, as if nothing there was she could do the endure the pain. As if after the flowers had faded, the lights had dimmed, and the crowds had disappeared – there was nothing. Nothing but dust and ashes.

 

 - versus -

 

Aurelia Atkins was a tall, thin girl, with long black hair and blue eyes.

 

See the difference?

 

Feel free to post any of your character descriptions if you like!

Edited by Sarah Daffy
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Posted (edited)

The contrast is almost hysterical. They definitely belong in two separate books.?

 

Edited by Sophie
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1 hour ago, Sarah Daffy said:

How do you like/write a character description? Do you like it long? Or short? How about descriptive? Or just plain, without much?

 

 

For my own background I write and write as much as I can about the character. But, when it comes to the description actually in the book I try to minimize as much as possible, let the reader fill in the blanks.

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Most of the time I don't describe characters. There's a lot of advice on that. The going wisdom is, unless you've got a dramatic reason to tell the reader what he/she looks like, don't do it.

 

I can honestly tell you that most readers end up describing the protagonist a looking like themselves.

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, Bob Leone said:

 

For my own background I write and write as much as I can about the character. But, when it comes to the description actually in the book I try to minimize as much as possible, let the reader fill in the blanks.

That is true. Sometimes I describe my characters right away, other times I don't.

Edited by Sarah Daffy

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1 minute ago, Bob Leone said:

 

For my own background I write and write as much as I can about the character. But, when it comes to the description actually in the book I try to minimize as much as possible, let the reader fill in the blanks.

What he said.

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5 minutes ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

I can honestly tell you that most readers end up describing the protagonist a looking like themselves.

Really? That's quite entertaining. I've never done it before.

I try to keep character descriptions at a minimal, but sometimes get carried away- Well, I guess that's why we edit.✂️ ?

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I've never imagined myself looking like the protagonist. It's kind of creepy, but when I saw the LOTR movies, I was saying, "yup... yup... how I pictured him."

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I think the key, for me, is to write as descriptively as possible in as few words as possible. I teach writing at a homeschool group and I'm always telling my students to pick trigger words (i.e. words that carry with them a whole landscape of meaning). 

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1 minute ago, EmilyDickinsonWhite said:

I think the key, for me, is to write as descriptively as possible in as few words as possible. I teach writing at a homeschool group and I'm always telling my students to pick trigger words (i.e. words that carry with them a whole landscape of meaning). 

That's true.  Sometimes my character descriptions are a little longer than they probably should be.? I guess I get a little carried away. . .:D

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16 hours ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

I've never imagined myself looking like the protagonist. It's kind of creepy, but when I saw the LOTR movies, I was saying, "yup... yup... how I pictured him."

 

You're right- that's creepy!

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For me it depends entirely on who's POV I'm in when describing a character. 

 

For example, in my WIP, there is one character who is described from two POV's (not at the same time, although that would be interesting). The first is a young woman. She notes the character's eye and hair color, that he has a distinctive scar, and is "slender". The second description comes from a man with some knowledge of fighting. He notes the character's scar, his height and that he is slender in a way that suggests strength. 

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29 minutes ago, Claire Tucker said:

For me it depends entirely on who's POV I'm in when describing a character.

That's true.  ?

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

I've never imagined myself looking like the protagonist. It's kind of creepy, but when I saw the LOTR movies, I was saying, "yup... yup... how I pictured him."

Whoa! ?

 

Edited by Sarah Daffy

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"He had the kind of face only a mother gorilla could love."

 

"His suit matched his personality."

 

"Her nose appeared accustomed to looking down at people."

 

"His blue eyes matched the ice in her drink."

 

There. That's usually as far as I get in descriptions.

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2 minutes ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

"He had the kind of face only a mother gorilla could love."

 

"His suit matched his personality."

 

"Her nose appeared accustomed to looking down at people."

 

"His blue eyes matched the ice in her drink."

 

There. That's usually as far as I get in descriptions.

?

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22 hours ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

I've never imagined myself looking like the protagonist. It's kind of creepy, but when I saw the LOTR movies, I was saying, "yup... yup... how I pictured him."

Seriously... isn't this how you always pictured him????

FRODO.jpg

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

Seriously... isn't this how you always pictured him????

 

Um, yeah.  . . .

Edited by Sophie
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Posted (edited)
On 4/16/2019 at 5:32 PM, Nicholas Reicher said:

Seriously... isn't this how you always pictured him????

FRODO.jpg

I've never seen the LOTR movies, but I have kind of always imagined the guy to have curly hair. . .?

Edited by Sarah Daffy

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I love your character descriptions, @Nicholas Reicher Especially the one referring to the gorilla. ?

 

Here's some more for you, @Sarah Daffy. :D

 

"He was a florid young man who looked as though he was interested in everything, yet cared about nothing."

 

"His allotment was not heavy with time and years, but his kind face and briskly whitening hair made him appear not older, but wiser."

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