Help With Descriptions

I’ve been struggling with character and appearance descriptions lately. I want to write descriptions that are detailed fir the reader to be able to visualize it, but not too excessive to bore them.

IfI post a picture, would anyone be willing to help me with writing a description?

If so, thank you.

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This character enjoys a grunge style, but I’m having trouble capturing it.

I think your post will better go in #improve-your-writing :wink:

Okay. Thanks.

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Let’s see, it will def help if you spread out the description. Talk about how the chain hanging from her belt rattles when she walks. Talk about how she blends into the darkness with her dark clothes. Maybe she likes to rub her fingers along her choker? Maybe the silver loops in her belt flashes when she moves. The necklaces can bounce against her chest when she jogs to a friend or somewhere. Her boots will sound heavy against any surface.

If I know the scene where you are trying to describe her and what needs describing I can help with that too.

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Thank you so much. I always feel awful when writing descriptions. I always feel like I’m doing it wrong. It would be awesome if you could PM me so I could possibly pick your brain.

sure thing, and don’t worry about. Most writers feel that way bc descriptions are h a r d

They are. I love your ideas. I just struggle mostly with slipping them in.

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Is your book written in first or third person? Because I find it’s harder to slip in descriptions about a character when it’s in first person–that’s why so many people end up writing a “mirror scene” or something cliche where they dump all of this information at you at once.

I also agree with the person above. Spreading out your description is a much better read!

Some other ideas include having people react to her in a certain way. For example, maybe earlier in the book, her mom/family member can say something like, “I wish you’d just wear that dress I bought you.” She could respond, “Pink is not my thing.” You don’t even need to go into her style at that point, but the reader already knows that she does not like wearing pink dresses.

Later, you can drop more hints: “I saw a freshman avert her eyes as I walked past. I guess she’d never seen someone with a nose piercing before.”

Or even small things like “The chains on my belt made a clanging sounds as I sat in my desk.” Or “I started yawning and rubbed my eyes; black eyeshadow rubbed off onto my hand.” Or “I was so bored; I kept fiddling with the safety pins tacked on my sleeve.”

Write the story, focusing on the plot. And find ways to slip the description in along the way, instead of focusing on the description first. A lot of famous books don’t even describe the main character that much. I’d focus on the plot first, then sneakily add in your description.

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Oh my god. You just gave me an awesome idea. Your advice is amazing. Thank you.

My book is in first person, which may be my problem. Only I’m used to writing in first person.

I will keep trying to master it. My problem may also be that I try to get a detailed description of the character to allow the reader to visualize them.

I think a lot of people feel this rush to describe the character immediately–and a lot of people on Wattpad will just give you an info dump. But I think if you are able to space it out, it comes across a lot more naturally.

And you can pretty much slip in all that info in the first chapter, depending on your plot. That way the reader doesn’t have to wait too long to get a mental image of the character.

Anyway, glad I was able to help you :slight_smile:

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Thank you.

It’s a mystery with a romantic subplot. Bit the mystery is the main part of the plot.

I’m having trouble with descriptions because I’m trying to capture the personalities as well as physical aspects.

I also have no real idea how describe two male characters in my story.

Here are their details.

Jonathan: Black hair, blue eyes, fair complexion. Very active, plays a ton of sports. Wears jeans or sweatpants, hoodies, etc.

Damon: Brown (windswept?) Hair, green eyes. He has a grungy/almost punk fashion vibe as well. He does have a beanie.

So, Jonathan would be described as athletic. This usually conjures images of someone lithe and fit, slim but muscular. I use that single word, athletic, to convey that physical type and when I see it used that’s what I see.

Use dialogue to describe your characters as others see them. You can drip feed your readers descriptions. You don’t have to tell them everything about what your characters look like in the first para or chapter.

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Thank you.

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Go for details, not descriptions As soon as you’re trying to absolutely control the reader, you will lose them Instead, go for the things that stick out and are key to understanding your character. For European-based/derived lit, most of these details are integrated into the text. For other regionalities it can depend. Of course rules can be broken, but this is the basics.

“With that, he smiled, showcasing his adorable dimples.”

And…

“I leaned on my tippy toes, planting a kiss on his cheek and tousling his jet black hair, before heading for the back door.”

These are two observations the MC has of this character, her best friend.

Play with the 5 senses - this works for character and setting description really well. Also you can really build a character’s personality alongside the physical description this way. Although I definitely wouldn’t recommend using all five senses in one description!

Touch, taste, smell, hear, see.

Eg. The chocker is a little too tight round my neck when I swallow. As I let it loose one notch, the thin, looping chains that fall over my chest chink softly. I lift a black skirt from the chair in the corner of my room and sniff it; vanilla and citrus. Sniff test passed. While I pull it on, even more chains - attached to the waistband - crunch metallically against one another. I shimmy a little and can’t help the grin that pulls on my lips; today’s outfit sounds like a broken wind chime.

That’s not ideal by any stretch, but do you see what I mean about senses? :blush:

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Wow. I wish I wrote that.

Ugh. Why? yelling to the sky Why can’t I better at description.

If I shout you out when I post this, could I use that description, at least for inspiration? I could tweak, even though I’d probably ruin it. Hopefully not.

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:sweat_smile: it’s easier when it’s not your character / story! But I’ve also been writing for over ten years now - off and on.

And yeah, help yourself! I won’t be using it so you might as well :grin: I’m just really pleased that you liked it that much :slight_smile:

Seriously thinking about senses when you write is a great way to make a scene or description more real though. Especially if you include taste or smell - although this isn’t always practical.

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