Character Basics: Physical Appearance [Character Development]

Another great post by Rachel Poli: describe your character’s physical appearance!

 

Rachel Poli

We’re all unique from one another, we all look and appear differently. Yes, people have identical twins or doppelgangers hanging around in other parts of the world, but we’re all made up differently.

Our appearance ranges from different hairstyles, body size and shape, the clothes we wear, and much more. There’s a lot to think about when you’re trying to paint a picture of multiple people in your stories for your readers.

How to describe your characters' physical appearance | Character development | Creating fictional characters | RachelPoli.com

Features To Think About

  • Height and weight
  • Body type
  • Eyes/eyebrows (shape, color)
  • Hair (style, length, color)
  • Skin (looks, feels, color)
  • Face (shape, facial hair)
  • Nose/ears
  • Mouth/teeth
  • Arms/hands
  • Legs/feet
  • Distinguishing features (makeup, scars, freckles, etc.)
  • Clothing style

When creating your character, it’s good for you to know most, if not all, of these features. Of course, your readers don’t need every nitty-gritty detail. I mean, you don’t typically describe your characters’ eyebrows, do you?

No, but if you want to…

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Character Basics: Choosing A Name [Character Development]

I love this post by Rachel Poli about choosing a name for your character.

Rachel Poli

This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing anything from these links will give me a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep the blog up and running. Thanks so much for your support!

What’s one of the first things you do to create your character? You come up with a name.

Well… Sometimes it’s difficult and I’ll admit I’ll throw in a random name and keep it bolded until I change it later.

For the sake of this post, we’re going to pretend the first thing we always do is name our characters.

A name is the most important thing you can give to your characters. It’s their identity and it separates them from everyone else inside the story and outside. Give them a name your readers will remember and appreciate. When you hear the name Harry Potter, you instantly know who I’m talking about, right?

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7 Helpful And Fun Ways To Create Characters

Rachel Poli provides us with 7 helpful and fun ways to create characters. Thanks, Rachel.

Rachel Poli

Creating characters isn’t always as easy as it seems. Sometimes the characters come to us and other times we have to chase them down.

I do think the creating of characters one of the most fun parts of writing a novel.

Characters go places we’ve never been. Characters can do things we’ve never dreamed of doing. Characters can be similar to us or they can be vastly different.

But how do you create characters that are similar but not exactly the same as the people around you? How can you create characters that have more experience than you in a given field?

7 helpful and fun ways to create characters | Creating fictional characters | Character development | RachelPoli.com

1. Randomize Everything

I have two apps on my iPad: Name Dice and Lists for Writers. The Name Dice is exactly how it sounds. You tap the screen and the dice roll. The first die shows the first name and the second shows the last name. When you’re stuck…

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Antagonists Are People, Too

Rachel Poli published a blog post about Antagonists in our stories. I think she did a great job here. Check it out.

Rachel Poli

It’s hard to have a good plot without someone to drive your protagonist forward. Often times, that someone happens to be a “bad guy.”

Someone who is not nice, someone who isn’t your protagonist’s number one fan, someone who wants the spotlight for themselves and goes about it the wrong way. There are a lot of reasons a protagonist becomes a protagonist. Often it’s something bad, but sometimes it’s not.

antagonistWho is the antagonist?

The antagonist is a character in your novel. Often times they are the “bad guy,” the person the protagonist is trying to stop, the person the readers don’t root for.

However, you have to remember that the antagonist is just as important to the novel as your protagonist is.

There are many different types of antagonists.

  • The Psychopath
  • The Hater
  • The Power Hungry
  • The Insane
  • The Rival

There are more types of villains, of course, but…

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The Ultimate Character Questionnaire (156 questions)…

Chris, The Story Reading Ape has provided us with part of a blog post and a link to the “Novel Factory”, where this particular post was published. The post provides us with the ultimate character questionnaire, asking 156 questions which help us to develop our characters.
(I thought the list was fascinating, even more since I don’t know myself as well as my characters after developing them with the help of this list.) But please, check it out. it is helpful.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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This character questionnaire has been collated from a variety of sources. It has been split into categories to try to make it more manageable, but this categorisation is far from perfect and lots of the questions could probably be in more than one category.

If you can think of a question that isn’t here and think it should be added – let us know!

Basic

First name:
Surname:
Middle name:
Nicknames:
Date of birth:
Age:

Physical Appearance

Height:
Weight:
Hair:
Eyes:
Distinguishing facial features?
Which facial feature is most prominent?
Which bodily feature is most prominent?
Skin:
Hands:
Scars:
Birthmarks?
Physical handicaps?
Type of clothes?
How do they wear their clothes?
What are their feet like? (type of shoes, state of shoes, socks, feet, pristine, dirty, worn, etc)
Race / Ethnicity?

Personality

What words or phrases do they overuse?
Are they more optimistic or pessimistic?
Do they ever put on…

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How To Write Characters from the Opposite Gender

I find it very interesting what Rachel Poli has to say about how to write characters from the opposite gender. Have a peek. I’m sure you agree. Thank you Rachel.

Rachel Poli

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that boys and girls are different. We’re different physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I’m a girl and have no idea what goes through the mind of a boy. Boys have no idea what girls go through. We pretend we understand the opposite gender, but we really have no clue.

With that being said, it’s much easier to write in the female point of view if you’re a female yourself.

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When I first started writing my mystery series,George Florence, the main protagonist was George himself. It was all in first-person, but some things just weren’t clicking with the rest of the story.

I eventually changed the point of view to third-person with George still in charge, but even that didn’t work out. With the help of my writer’s group, I came to the conclusion that even though George calls the shots for…

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How To Really Get To Know Your Characters! #MondayBlogs #AmWriting

BlondeWriteMore has published an excellent blog post about “How to really get to know your characters”. What a fantastic post! Thank you!

BlondeWriteMore

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Photo Credit: Stocksnap

Do you want to know how to reallyget to know your characters? The answer is simple.

Pretend you are having coffee with your fictional character!

I have been using this role play method for sometime and I think it has really improved my second draft. My reviewers in November might disagree…

The thought of doing some character development can make some writers groan, as they view it as aboring writing chore. I will hold my hand up and admit to this.

For a long time I have been more focused on plot, as that is what excites me. In my head character development was just a tedious couple of hours writing lists of facial features. Ugh!

After a couple of bad draft novels I realised (the hard way!) that characters are so important to a story and it is the nuggets of character detail which…

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