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How do I describe characters?



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Tue Jun 28, 2022 1:04 am
WeepingWisteria says...



Hey, y'all! With Camp NaNo just around the character, I have slammed into one of my most significant issues with writing introductory chapters.

I have no idea how to describe my characters.

I know how my characters look. I know their hair and skin colour, the way they stand, and where their scars are. But, I'm not sure how to translate that information well. How quickly should their appearance be introduced? How do I describe the main character when it's First Person P.o.V, and I'd rather die than have them stare wistfully in a mirror? I'm trying to avoid purple prose and stick to the basics: skin tone (because there are a lot of people of colour and inhuman characters), hair colour and style, eye colour, and defining features (such as scars, freckles, beauty marks, etc.). Is that too much? Am I overthinking this? Any help would be appreciated.
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Wed Jun 29, 2022 2:37 am
Liminality says...



Hi there Lorde!

Yeah, describing character appearances is tough in first-person POV. I don't use that POV much, but here are some ideas I can think of:

- Does your character like clothes? Maybe you could have them comment on their clothing preferences casually and how those can match say, their hair colour or eye colour. (e.g. "The lady in the queue in front of me was wearing a dark maroon blazer. It was a good, solid shade of maroon. It almost made me jealous and want to get one of my own, until I remembered how horribly maroon clashes with red hair.")
- Is there a place where the character feels 'in-the-group' or maybe a bit outcasted because they don't look like everyone else there? That might be a point where they'd casually reflect on how they look. (e.g. "It was weird being on that runway. I felt like I was the only short-haired muscular model, and I was surrounded by enormous willow trees that smiled a lot.")
- Does your character have friends that like to tease or give nicknames? Maybe some of their teasing can clue the reader in on how the character looks. (e.g. Donna sauntered over and slapped me on the back. "Hey, Freckles, how's it going?")
- Also this one I stole from a website I can't remember the name of, but if first-person narration says something like "It was mostly the white people at our school who frequented those parties" or for a science-fiction example "The Martians liked to hold parties when they visited our offices", then the reader can infer in the first case that the narrator is not white, and in the second case, that the narrator is not Martian.

Hope some of this helps!
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Wed Jun 29, 2022 2:39 am
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WeepingWisteria says...



Those are all great, @Liminality! The first one works great for one of my characters.
She/They/Fae

Just call me Wisteria.

You can find my projects here!

Used to be AlmostImmortal

I'm here, I'm queer, and I'm here for you if you need to talk. <3
  





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Wed Jun 29, 2022 6:32 am
Liminality says...



That's wonderful to hear -- good luck with your writing!
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Wed Jun 29, 2022 6:42 am
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WeepingWisteria says...



Thank you! You too.
She/They/Fae

Just call me Wisteria.

You can find my projects here!

Used to be AlmostImmortal

I'm here, I'm queer, and I'm here for you if you need to talk. <3
  








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