Describing Character Appearance

60 Second Advice by Anne Brees

When it comes to what your character will look like, there seems to be a thousand options. The truth is, your reader probably doesn’t care. They don’t care what color eyes or  your MC has. They don’t care if your character is 5’1″ or 6’1″. Your readers will have their own picture of what your character looks, and will probably forget your descriptions only a few lines later.

Diversity is key. There isn’t enough representation in writing. There are more people with stories to tell than straight white men. However, don’t write with diversity because it’s a trend or you feel like you have to. Research and write it well.

Pick a few appearances details and focus on those. What does your character notice about themselves? What do other characters notice? Maybe it’s a certain scar. (Perhaps a lightning bolt on a forehead?) Maybe it’s a missing finger. Maybe it’s wild curly hair. Maybe it’s a slight limp. Your reader won’t remember all of the aspects of your character that you describe, so choose to mention a few and let those represent your character.

Focus on the stuff that’s more important. Appearance means little. Focus on your character arc and flaws and quirks. That will make your character much more memorable than describing their eye color multiple times.

What is your character’s most defining physical feature?

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