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  #1    
Old July 3rd, 2010 (10:41 AM).
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I just began working on my first pokemon fan fiction and I'm having problem giving a good description of my characters and a good description overall.When giving a description of my characters I don't know how much is enough, am I suppose to describe them head to toe or just give a few details. I'm almost finding it difficult to make my charaters emotional and give them emtional traits.

Any help will be highly appreciated.
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Old July 3rd, 2010 (10:55 AM).
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I would just imagine them in my head and find words that describe them, their personality and how they dress. Just make a short checklist for those things.
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Old July 3rd, 2010 (11:16 AM).
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This is always a tough question to answer because if you go a little past the mark of what's enough either way, then it turns out you either bog the story down with details or fail to provide enough. The best way to go about doing things is to keep in mind that you just need to provide enough to get the reader to imagine roughly the same images in your head -- or at least enough that would help them form enough of a solid image to get by. For example, don't spend a massive paragraph describing your character's clothing. Instead, you could just say he was wearing a white shirt with a Poké Ball design on it and a pair of jeans, and that would fly.

Now, what about effective description? Part of where a lot of description fails is that it feels like you're infodumping (providing a lot of information that might seem only marginally important to the rest of the story). One technique I highly recommend is linking your descriptions to the actions your character is taking. For example, instead of just telling us that your character's wearing a pair of jeans, you could say he puts on a pair of jeans or he uses his pale-skinned hands to wipe dust off his brand-new jeans. If you call attention to these kinds of details while showing the character in movement, it'll be easier for your readers to swallow.

I guess the short of it is that, sure, it's a good idea to describe your character as much as possible to get the concept you've got in your head across to the reader. Just be careful with it. If you find yourself going on for a paragraph just about someone's appearance, chances are, you'll want to think about how to mix things up a bit.

Good luck and hope that helps a little.
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Old July 3rd, 2010 (11:18 AM).
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You don't need to elaborate on every minor detail of a character's appearance. As far as physical descriptions go, in most cases, you don't need the reader to see what you see. Rather, you just need to give a few distinctive features so that the reader can take those and fill in the rest. It's a matter of finding a happy medium.

I think Stephen King explains it well, in On Writing.
Quote:
If I tell you that Carrie White is a high school outcast with a bad complexion and a fashion-victim wardrobe, I think you can do the rest, can’t you? I don’t need to give you a pimple-by-pimple, skirt-by-skirt rundown. We all remember one or more high school losers, after all; if I describe mine, it freezes out yours, and I lose a little bit of the bond of understanding I want to forge between us.
As for describing emotions, generally the best thing you can do (IMO) is show it through body language. You don't have to say that a character is anxious to show it. For example, you could draw attention to his lip-biting, or his sweaty palms.
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Old July 3rd, 2010 (01:51 PM).
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ffffffff @ Citrinin quoting King when I was going to.

But I'll give you the advice my favorite writer gave when it comes to describing characters, except paraphrased, because man likes to ramble.

Unless the physical description is important to the character/story, then it's not needed. For example, with one of my characters, her hair color is never described (it's brown, btw), but I do mention that her shoulder has limitations because that's important to the story. Her hair color? Not so much. While on the other hand, another character I write about does get his hair and eye color described because it's important to the character and the story.

As for emotions, you could try thinking of how you would react in the situation and twist it to fit the character. Or, take what you know of their personality, and think about them. To describe how they feel, I agree with Citrinin. What's the character's body language in response to their emotions?
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Old July 3rd, 2010 (05:05 PM).
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I think it is a common misconception that you have to show every part of your character's appearance in one paragraph. That is not true all the time. You can give the readers bits and pieces of your character's appearance gradually. I just have the bad habit of rushing it.

As for the emotions, it is key to know your character. I probably drill this into every amateur writer that I meet but listen anyway. Your character is essential a part of you. They came from your mind and you give them life. Sit down a think of the proper responses that each of the characters that you create convey. If your character is born to be serious, he should respond with stern word choices. Body language is important as well.

If you need any more questions asked, please feel free to give me a PM. ;D
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