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A discussion to stoke your writing fire.
Posted: 10/11/2008 10:28 AM PDT
As far as charcter description goes, I would agree with you that less is often more! Have you ever noticed that when a favourite book is made into a film, the characters are never as you visualised them? I believe that it is often better to let the reader have a free hand in this. With children's stories in particular, the 'good' characters need little or no description and the very fact that one my be a favourite uncle is quite enough for the reader to see him as being just like his own favourite uncle.
Posted: 10/11/2008 9:58 AM PDT
thank you! that really helps!! I especially like the idea of a quirk. I never thought much about that, but that would definitely help my characters seem more... human.
Posted: 10/11/2008 1:12 AM PDT
Well, perhaps you should elicit incidents which make for certain facets of the character's description show more naturally.
(e.g.) So-and-so was a handsome, rotund man. Standing tall at about five and a half feet, mocha brown eyes and a neatly trimmed mustache adorned his perfectly round face. As he reached for a glass on the nearby table, his shirt sleeves constricted tightly under his arm's bulging physique. As he took a drink, the paleness of his lips reflecting off of the water in the glass went unnoticed. "Adrianne, dear!" he called out, in a gravelly voice, have you seen my glasses? For the life of himself, he just couldn't find them today. But that was the least of his problems. His largest pair of pants popped a button due to his increased girth, a result of not eating at regular intervals, and his shoes were in tatters. A belt was good enough to hold his drooping pants at bay however, as he was displeased with his pale, scrawny legs and ashy knees. Sure his legs were muscular once, but that was many years ago in high school, and he was slowly falling out of any kind of satisfactory shape. In comparison, he often thought his body type resembled an ostrich, save for his short, thick neck. "I really should go with Adrianne to the gym sometime." he pondered to himself, but once again discarding such a healthy thought. He was like that now that he was married. Healthy thoughts were at the back of his mind, and only seeking momentary pleasure in the monotony that his life had become even aroused his senses.
I'm not terribly good at writing, or at least I am overly critical on myself, but in that one paragraph, you should have a reasonable idea of the features of his body type, the condition of his health, and a bit of a psychological profile of the person.
That was one paragraph. And a minor bit of text within that is possibly relevant to the overall plot, or perhaps just providing some insight into the guy, which might be relevant if he is a mental-type character. After that, only the occasional reference to the guy's features would even be necessary, just to keep certain details of the guy active and vivid in the mind of your readers. Perhaps he might have a quirk? Such as scratching his nose when he is nervous, thus his nose always appearing red and irritated. Anything is game if you find a place for it. And as far as I am concerned, the description above is considered to myself as "Flooding," as I know I can fill the descriptions of my characters out throughout a chapter or so, as opposed to all at once.
I hope this helped you, Miracle.
Posted: 10/10/2008 9:04 PM PDT
I always have a hard time describing my characters! I'll describe their hair, eyes, and sometimes height, but is that enough?? I see them clear enough in my head, but I don't want to be too wordy when describing them, because it would get boring pretty fast.