Friday, September 12, 2008

Characters - Description

Happy Friday! I am continuing on with my lessons. Today is Lesson 3. Please tell everyone about this blog as it's very educational and even if you don't write, it's fun to read and I don't know anyone who couldn't learn something from someone. So, here it is:

Characters - Description
There are all kinds of characters you can breathe live into:
•You talk to them everyday
•You see them everyday
•Take one thing you notice about one person and combine it with something different from someone else and then embellish
•Vitally important to stories - as a writer, show us what your characters look like

Give me an example of your character description. Make something up or post a character you've already written. Let's see what you have in you!

Here, I'll start. This is a character in a manuscript I'm currently working on:

"Tanisha answered the door, obviously expecting Nick. She was wearing a low-cut, scooped neck, multi-colored top that seemed to drape around her thin shoulders with black satin slacks."

What does this tell you about the character? With just this one description, the reader can see she was probably going out on a date ("obviously expecting Nick" and the description of what she was wearing); she likes to dress well (description of her clothing); she wanted to make an impression on her date ("low-cut, scooped neck..."); and she's a thin woman ("around her thin shoulders...").

Yes, you can create a vivid description of a person in just a few sentences such as I have. That's just a quick example of what character description is about.

Now, it's your turn. Let's see it!



DJ said...

A Harley rests on the edge of a narrow curved road. It's sleek and shiny and begs to be mounted.

In steps CASEY, ready to ride. Wicked boots. Tight jeans hug the curves of her body like the Harley should hug the road. She sweeps up her hair, as blonde as the sun, and tucks it into her helmet with one graceful move.

She throws a leg over the bike's seat. Her thigh brushes against the leather. She straddles the machine - a slow little lap dance to find that comfortable niche...

This is Casey Adams.

Word Actress said...

She thought she'd finally found the gift, the gift that those women with their checking-off-the-boxes
relationship clipboards must have been born with.
Husband...check. House...check. Baby No. 1...check.
Baby No. 2...ON THE WAY. And then Dan, her fiance of five years left her to have a baby with Brinn, a Mormon Make-Up Artist who wants seven children. Their daughter Jessica Marie is due at the end of the month.
Dan's good-bye note said, 'You can't be just a little bit pregnant, Sosie.' The note went on to say, 'I need you out of the condo in two days.' So after a bazillion Hefty Cinch Sak trash bag runs to the Salvation Army, she crammed the rest of her stuff into the backseat, trunk and roof of her Volvo, went on Craig's List to sites she should have skipped like
'Train To Be An Online Psychic' or how about this one 'Make Your Life More Interesting - Be An Online Dominatrix'. Oh, and this one at least made her laugh - 'I Can Pose As Your Husband for Corporate Events and Family Gatherings'. In the end, her good friend Charlotte saved her by asking her to housesit for a while at her mother's beachfront apartment in Malibu.

So as she drove across the country with stops at Graceland, the Grand Canyon, Texas (she wanted to fly a kite in a thunderstorm), Route 66 and towns where fried Cheese Whiz was the main course, she went right back to being Sosie Bend, a woman
who just LOVES.

An excerpt from Mary Kennedy's Eastham's novel-in-progress 'Night Surfing - A Story of Love and Wonder in the Waves of Malibu

David said...

I drove a yellow Dodge Dart that was rusting out at the doors and headlights. Why I bought the car is still a mystery to me. I could get to most places in Manhattan just as fast or faster walking or using mass transit. 'Must be the old Chinese teachings--the need to be alone with my thoughts.' And if you've ever tried to drive a care through Manhattan you know that I had plenty of time to do that.

Making a left-hand turn into the parking lot near the bowling alley, I noticed the scarring on my right wrist. 'Some things would never completely go away'. I received the scar when I was twelve, trying to break into my house through a window in a failed attempt to rescue my younger brother. The house was on fire and a fireman pulled me from the window moments before a gas explosion in the kitchen blew out the whole side of the house. Yet as I thought of that scar I also thought of other scars, on the hands and feet of the One who had reached in and saved me from Destruction.

(Excerpt from THE 3RD COVENANT, describing Det. Nat Adams and giving a little back story.)

Starr Reina said...


Great description! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Word Actress,

Also, good descriptions. I'd like to see more of the description of Sosie though, other than "Sosie Bend, a woman who just LOVES." What of her? I'd like to see what this character is like by description. It doesn't have to just be a physical description. Why does she just LOVE? Show me. Thank you for sharing! I'd like to see your response.


I like your description. It shows a lot about this character. For instance, "I drove a yellow Dodge Dart that was rusting out at the doors and headlights" shows he's not a materialistic type person. When you talked about the scar on his wrist and how he got it, it shows that the character was one who cared for others. Great job!

These are some wonderful descriptions. I'd like to see some more feedback.

Thanks everyone!


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