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  #1    
Old November 13th, 2011, 07:25 PM
xelarator's Avatar
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I just got a really good idea for a fanfic that I want to write about, but I got one problem.

How do I describe a person and the way he/she looks? Also, how would my current avatar look as a person? I have no idea how to do this, and I don't wanna go back on Pokemon only stories. How do I do this!?!?
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  #2    
Old November 13th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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What I found reading most books is that how the character looks is entirely left up to the reader. Maybe some vague details describe contrast to other characters or perhaps a region etc. Or if you're describing a setting then maybe his clothing reflects that or opposite the season.

I find describing what he wears verbatim can be boring for the reader.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 07:34 PM
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I always thought that the best descriptions of people are the ones that aren't the ones that just ramble on what they're wearing, their eye color, and specifically how tall they are, etc. That's just listing stuff. I think that when you drop a tinge of description, like discreetly saying "so-and-so has brown hair", those work out best. But only add in the details that make this person completely different from the crowd. What makes them stand out? A tattoo? An eye patch? A peg leg? Those are the descriptions that matter the most. What makes them unique is the basic question you should answer when describing something/someone.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 07:42 PM
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Two points. One: Weave your description in with the narration. Don't devote a paragraph to describing your character; mix it in with what's actually going on so that it's relevant. Remember, even if it's third-person, your story is essentially told from a viewpoint. The character's not going to sit there for a minute just thinking about what they look like and what they're wearing today. Even if you accomplish this by having them agonise over what to wear for a few minutes and then stare at themselves in the mirror all emo-like, wondering why the girl they have a crush on doesn't like them when they have such gorgeous brown eyes or whatever, it's better than just dropping it in there.

Two: As was said above, it's not always necessary to know what characters look like. I'm 21 chapters into Champion Game, and so far all the audience knows about my protagonist in terms of physical appearance is that he has somewhat unruly brown hair and he's not too tall for his age. That's enough to give you something of an image, but to be honest, it's not really that important. Is the character's appearance a plot point? Most likely not, so it might not be necessary to give it more than a passing mention.

On the whole, just don't make it too much of a focus. Tone it down, mix it in with your narration and don't let it steal the show. Be subtle. Even if it's 'Lucy shoved open the creaky old window, letting the morning breeze toy with her long blonde hair'.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 07:46 PM
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Another way to describe a person is by inserting description into the narration so it's not out-of-place. For example:
Quote:
He shrugged at everyone, a small smile on his face and his eyes hidden under his blond fringe.
The description of the character's hair doesn't hit the reader as it would of if I had just said "He has blond hair."

Another piece of advice I can give is to only describe what's important about the character in the story. If your character's hat is important to him and is a part of his characterization/history, then mention his hat often and describe it more than his pants because his pants aren't important to know details about. That way, you don't really have to know the full details of what your character looks like (if you're not a visual thinker) because the reader can just fill in the rest if need be and remember what's important.

I hope this helps or makes sense!
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  #6    
Old November 13th, 2011, 07:46 PM
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Ok, then do you think this is a good description of my avatar?

" A young, fourteen year old boy about 5'5 has that wears a dark green shirt, leather jeans, a red scarf, and a large blue beanie. His long, pointy black hair comes out from under the beanie."
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  #7    
Old November 13th, 2011, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xelarator View Post
Ok, then do you think this is a good description of someone?

" A young, fourteen year old boy about 5'5 that wears a dark green shirt, leather jeans, a red scarf, and a large blue beanie..."
If you really want to devote a couple sentences to describing a character it could look similar to this:

Quote:
A young boy stood in the forest. His shirt blended in to his surroundings like camouflage. Unfortunately his blue beanie, and red scarf stood out like a sore thumb. The boy who stood at a medium height was waiting for his friend.
Something like that COULD work, but I think what the others said it the best way to write. You shouldn't really focus too much on what he looks like. You want to readers mind to flourish with their own creative ideas while reading instead of being directed too much.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xelarator View Post
Ok, then do you think this is a good description of someone?

" A young, fourteen year old boy about 5'5 that wears a dark green shirt, leather jeans, a red scarf, and a large blue beanie..."
I know I'm ninja'd already but anyway! Eh, not particularly, unless the fact he's wearing those clothes is important to the story which in most cases I assume is not the case. If you really want to describe clothes then as said you'd want to do it one at a time in narration, not all at once in a listy manner (so not 'he wore this, that and this', like you have there - how Deadrocks has it for instance fits the pacing and narration of the story better. Basically you don't want to interrupt the story to tell us facts, but try to weave them into the story so we get the description without noticing or thinking 'okay, he's just describing him now'). Furthermore the thing about 5'5 isn't very important either - his exact height isn't something I will commit to memory as a reader and as I usually go by cm rather than feet/inches for measuring it means even less to me.
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  #9    
Old November 13th, 2011, 07:57 PM
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Crud, I just added in some important details to my description and you guys just posted the minute I hit submit...
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  #10    
Old November 13th, 2011, 08:04 PM
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I'd... still say the same comments just made (and made before it) are valid for your new and old sentence anyway, to be honest.
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  #11    
Old November 13th, 2011, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobandbill View Post
I'd... still say the same comments just made (and made before it) are valid for your new and old sentence anyway, to be honest.
I would have to agree. Most visual details about a character don't really matter unless they pertain directly to the plot.
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  #12    
Old November 13th, 2011, 08:22 PM
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xelarator
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Ok then, now all I need is a good title. Thank you, all of you.
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