Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Character Description

I recently read a blog about describing your character's appearance. It made me think about how I write.

When I introduce a character, I try to describe them.

But, then, I don't usually describe them anymore. Especially if they're not the main characters.

One of the things I dislike is when an author constantly reminds you of what the characters look like. Repeating what color eyes or hair a character has, no matter how many different ways you can say it gets boring! Yes, we know he has blue eyes because you've told us 100 times. And oh the cold skin, can't forget that. He had cold skin in the beginning of the series, he still has cold skin at the end. WOW, who would have thought?

How much do you notice you neighbor? Spouse? Someone you pass in the store? Best friend?

Other than my children and my husband, I couldn't tell you what color eyes anyone I know has. Unless maybe they were SO different, I couldn't help but notice. If a neighbor changes something about their hair, I'd notice that.

So, readers - how much do you like reading descriptions of the characters? Is there something specific you like to know? What their hair looks like in that scene? What they're wearing that day? Or does it not matter after the first major description?

How about you writers? How much description do you put in?


  1. Much of it I leave to the reader's imagination. I do describe what they look like but vaguely otherwise I just let the reader decide what they think he or she should look like.

  2. Haha! Cold, sparkling skin... ::coughs:: I won't go there.
    Anyway! I try to do a major description right at the beginning when the character makes their first appearance. Sometimes, I even wait and just offer up tidbits of what they look like. I've learned my lesson of not going into huge descriptions of the characters because it gets you off track.
    Good post Talia!

  3. L.A. - that's a good way too. When I'm reading, it's easier to see myself as the character when there's not a big description.

    Caledonia - I love Twilight, but she mentioned cold way too much :D I usually do a little description, but I don't say much more throughout the book other than how a character wore their hair that day. I hardly talk about the clothes they're wearing.

    So, I was curious as to what other people liked.

  4. I agree Talia, I think some books spend an excessive amount of time describing things that are better left to the reader's imagination, including the characters themselves.

    As a reader I enjoy the story and character interactions the most, as a writer I try to produce something I would enjoy reading.

  5. I give a description, although not nearly enough for a police sketch artist to draw them out. Unless there's something unusual or relevant to the plot, I keep it pretty bare-bones. Average height, brown hair, brown eyes, etc. I might occasionally drop a reminder here or there throughout the story if it seems relevant, "He ran his hands through his red hair," etc. to make it more 'there,' but that's about it. Describing what someone looks like can be so tedious.

  6. I don't have e-reader so I can't buy a book. Good luck to all entrants.

    I am an old follower.

  7. Character descriptions is quite tough to begin with but I really don't mind the constant character info/descriptions it adds up to the whole effect of the story lol :))

    I'm a new follower feel free to drop by

    Take care ^_^