Posted in Inspiration Station, Writing

Inspiration Station: Looks Are Everything

inspiration station character development

Appearance isn’t everything, but when it comes to describing the characters in your novel, physical looks are important.

You want your reader to see the characters they’re reading about.

Don’t just say a character is pretty because they’re the main character or something along those lines. How are they pretty? Do other characters in the story think he or she is pretty? If so, why? If not, why?

Let your reader have an opinion on this as well. Maybe your reader will agree or disagree whether your protagonist is pretty or not.

There are many different physical characteristics to think about when creating your characters. Do you have to spend a few paragraphs right in a row to describe your character? No. Describe them over time.

Some physical features aren’t even important, but it doesn’t hurt to throw them in; especially in the first few drafts of your novel to help you, the writer, get familiar with the characters.

Physical characteristics can include:

–Body type (bony, chubby, petite, solid, height, weight, etc.)
–Facial features (clean-shaven, wrinkled, double chin, droopy eyes, etc.)
–Skin and complexion (birthmarks, scars, pale, tattoos, etc.)
–Hair (hair’s color, length, cut, thick/thin, etc.)
–Clothing and accessories (kinds of clothes they wear, colors, kinds of accessories such as hats, jewelry, etc.)

A great way to describe someone is to describe yourself first. It’ll give you ideas of what to look for when talking about the physical traits of your characters.

Look at yourself in a mirror and describe your body, you face, and everything you can think of.

In my creative writing class at college, I was assigned an exercise called the Body Portrait. You zoom in on a spot of your body and tell its story. I chose to write about the small scar under my chin.

It’s a great way to look more in depth at yourself and your characters.

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

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