Quick links, bringing you great articles on writing from all over the web.
~ * ~
Following up on my post on scene descriptions, I turn today to describing characters. The basic principle is the same: we want to create a feeling over and above a mere picture. And the way we do that is to filter impressions through the point-of-view character.
I’d like to break this subject down into two parts. First, how to describe the main character, the protagonist. Second, how to render the other characters through the eyes of the protagonist.
Main Character Description
There are two schools of thought when it comes to describing a main character.
The first is to give little or no visual info about the character. This allows the readers form their own picture. There’s a vividness that springs directly from the reader’s imagination.
This approach––minimalism––seems to be the preferred style these days. The exception may be category romance, which usually puts the main characters right on the cover.
If you want to offer a fuller character description, your challenge is two-fold. How much detail, and how to deliver it? In the past it was common to give full information via an omniscient POV, as in the beginning of Gone With The Wind: