Carol Henry <carolhenry@...>
IT’S ALL ABOUT CHARACTER—Beyond the Basics©
By Carol Henry
LESSON 2: Visualizing characters beyond the basics
In this lesson we’re going to identify a few more character visual traits that will define and add more depth to your character’s outward appearance. But before we do that, we need to define your character’s type, if you haven’t already—who they are in your story. Here are some categories to consider:
Who are they in your story?:
• The lead character
• Antagonist—evil villain
• Friend/someone who supports your lead character
• Other major character
Going beyond the basics—what do your characters really ‘look’ like?
It’s time to really look at your character’s outward appearance. In doing so, here are a few points to consider adding to your basic description in Lesson 1:
• What is their ethnic background, how does this define their appearance?
• What is their body build: are they fat, pasty, unkempt, voluptuous, buckteeth, have a uni-brow—no eyebrows, or do they have well-defined features?
• What is their bone structure, shape of lips, nose ears, and their physique (do they workout, or need to work out more)?
• How is their hair styled, the length, is it wavy, thick frizzy, straight, always worn in a ponytail, a man bun?
• What do they wear on their heads? In their hair—depending on the season your story takes place or era you are writing about?
• Are their eyes large, round, squinty, or oval? Large or small eyelashes?
• Do they wear glasses—what shape/color?
• Skin tones, not just for ethnic descriptions, but say you’re writing a beach novel and the poor dear fell asleep on the beach on the hottest day of the year? Ouch!
• Do they have scars or other markings on their face, or other parts of their body—where? How did they get them?
• Go ahead and think about other parts of the body that need descriptions—the hands, feet, etc.
And just to give you more to think about:
• How are they dressed?
• What kind of shoes, shock, stocking, foot ware, if any?
• Color, styles of clothing (period dress)?
• Are their clothes, hand-made, fashion plate, or off-the-rack?
Tip of the Day: You should define minor characters even if you don’t use all their information in the story—you never know when you might want to use this character in another story later. That goes for your main characters, as well. You might not include all this information in your story, and that’s okay, but you will have all this information at your fingertips, should you need to use any of it in your scenes as the story progresses. And if you aren’t already, become a ‘people watcher’ to look for clues you can use for your own characters.
HOMEWORK—LESSON 2: Using the information above, start to create your character’s ‘beyond the basic’ visual. Be as descriptive as possible. Keep in mind that you can always add to your character description sheets as your characters emerge throughout their story. Feel free to share your character’s outward appearance when you are ready.
Note: Lesson 3 will focus on mannerisms, speech patterns, and personalities
Destination: Romance—Exotic Romantic Suspense Adventures
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Carolan Sweet <sweetwriter@...>
Back again with my hero. I have filled in what I visualize so far.
• He’s the lead
• He’s the hero
• He’s the Heroine’s best friend or wants to be at the start
• His Antagonist is a gang of girls who pick on him and also one teacher who doesn’t understand him.
• His support is his mother but she can be smothering
• His confidant is an elderly neighbor lady whose dog he walks.
He’s a little thin for a boy his age, but not by much. He walks with his head down, shoulders hunched so as not to bump into anyone or thing. He has short blond hair. Most of the time he wears a baseball cap. His features are ordinary, a bit narrow and foxlike, but he would not stand out in a crowd of teens. Because of his OCD he doesn’t like to touch anything so he usually has his hands tucked against his body. He wears typical teen clothes – jeans, long-sleeve tees, sweatshirts, all washed everyday and slip on sneakers (so he doesn’t have to touch them. He has a black bookbag. Inside it, he keeps everything in individual plastic bags. Basically, he blends in well except for his reluctance to touch anything because of a fear of germs. Some of the girls know he doesn’t like to be touched and go out of their way to touch him because he gets all shaky and wild-eyed.