What do I mean by how to do you describe a character?
So you already have an idea of how your character looks like and the type of person they are, but how do you show this to your reader?
One trap that’s easy to fall into is the urge to put a big block of a character’s description at the beginning of a book as opposed to spreading it out throughout the novel. Which I think is a better idea.
Why is it a bad idea?
I personally hate to read a block of character description. I would much rather be shown the character’s personality throughout the story than told it all at once in the beginning.
There would be no suspense.
So how should you describe your character?
1. Know Your Character
You can’t describe what you don’t know so take a moment to really evaluate how much you know your character. Have an interview with them and ask weird questions that you would really have to think about to answer. For example, ask your character if they have a clean room or not. You may learn if they’re a neat person, a cluttered person, or a carefree pig. These add to their personality.
2. Show Character Traits Through Actions and Dialogue
Now that you know your main characters like the back of your hand, it’s time to show it to your readers. It’s better to be subtle and let your readers draw their own conclusions about your characters without you as the narrator having to come out and blantly say this person is bad or this person is nice. That’s just boring.
Think about the words you can have your characters say that will show their personality. Do they talk to themselves? Do they always revert the conversation back to them when talking to someone if you have a egotistic character? Well, you should.
Take a moment to consider what the say and do to enhance their character and make their personality stand out.
3. Describe Appearance
Sometimes what your characters wears shows their personality. We’ve all seen the weird guy walking down the street with that cowboy hat on and hot shorts in the middle of October but what do we think his personality is? Carefree? Clueless? Shameless?
What if your character always wear dresses or a suit? Does it say that they are very well-kept? Do they prefer nice things? Do they prefer the better things in life and look down on everyone else?
What your character’s wears shows a bit of their personality.
4. Spread It Out
Don’t have all this information in the beginning. Spread it out and give something your readers can get further into. Maybe the twist or surprise in the story is a character later becoming evil or backstabbing. I, as a reader, shouldn’t learn that character is backstabbing at the start of the book. That ruins the fun. Let me learn that at the climax or the end. Make me shocked.
Also, by spreading out your character descriptions it eliminate big chunky blogs of paragraphs that mainly cause my eyes to tire. When I read description I mostly skim over it to get to the good part. I’d rather SEE how that character is bitchy rather than just being TOLD they are.
Thanks for reading and happy writing and feel free to subscribe to get the next blog post.