Hi there, let me introduce you. This ↑is Marcus, or maybe I don't know who the kid is in this *photo. It's not mine, as I don't own any rights to it. But that's not really the point. Marcus like most book characters is in the mind of the reader, and the author of course. How your character looks can be vague or have clean cut lines where deviation is nearly intolerable. For instance, Harry Potter must be that dark haired kid with glasses that Daniel Radcliffe embodied, or they could be as vague and ambiguous as Mr. Darcy.
I have spent the last few weeks going through
So naturally what I'm talking about today is character. If you want to know how a writer ticks-you'll find there are many different schools of thinking on that subject-you need only look at the photo above.
When building a character I go
But as there are many methods to writing fiction and many prefer a more concrete image of their favorite character. Here are some tips that will help you write real world characters.
Whether your fictional character is a Marcus or the creature from the black lagoon there are universal qualities, techniques, and imagery all writers need to employ to give a character an appearance.
No one reading Marcus would say he is a blond haired, blue eyed boy, because those simple features are cut out of the narrative by informing the reader his hair is black and his eyes dark.
The qualities I'm speaking of when writing are those real
Close your eyes.
Picture a car driving down a country lane. Maybe it's hot, maybe dry, maybe it's so humid you can drink the air.
Can you picture it?
The car window is down and a girl is letting the breeze blow her hair.
That is vague, even a bit open ended.
Now to make the girl and the car come into view for the reader, you could say a girl around twelve, with wispy blonde hair was hanging her head out the window of a blue ford.
Better, but not great.
Let's try this, a blue ford rumbled down the dirt road. I watched a preteen hang her head from the car. Her wispy blonde hair blowing in the breeze.
That sounds alright, but what does she look like? And what is the atmosphere that will bring this character to life?
Let's try something more all encompassing.
The hot July sun was dipping now. Perhaps it was a nod to my prayer for relief.
Across the blank expanse of fields and trees a road cuts a gravel path through. A raking sound was coming from that way. That noise irked me.
No doubt a car from Passa, headed to the market, and in a hurry. They'd have to rush; the market would close by eight.
The dusty blue Ford rounded the bend in the road, gravel crunching under the tires. Windows down, letting the breeze created by speed blow through, coating the seats inside with as much dust as the outside of the car.
A girl hung her head out the window. With narrow gangling shoulders, she looked to be wilting in the heat. Her eyes searching the horizon. Her fair skin
There are many ways to give your character a body, hair, eyes, and so on. But it's often in the action that real characters can be seen. The girl isn't just blonde and fair, she is thin skinned sensitive,
The narrator has no body. This is the essence of vague interpretive writing. But they give life to the sun, as if it is answering their prayer. The noise of cars in a hurry to get to town before closing time bothers them. They are blunt and to the point. "That noise irked me."
What character comes to mind?
While the girl clearly looks a certain way, the narrator could be an old man or woman, they could be an irritable child, a spiritualist who can feel the bridling of a preteen's soul.
There is a third character in this scene as well, even more vague. One who procrastinates until
How much detail when it comes to character varies widely from one author to the next. Personally, I'm a fan of small snippets of detail, through activity. I like that better than a list of traits. But not everyone would agree some people just want a list to speed things up.
Dickens was known for naming the character with a trait that stuck out. Thus fixing their persona with a name concreting the reader's perception of them and it didn't need to be a physical characteristic. It
So when writing characters have fun experimenting. Think of what you like in a story, how many fixed physical features does your favorite character have?
*I don't own any of these pictures.