EXERCISE Character Description in an Intro Post

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Minibit, May 26, 2014.

  1. Let's start with


    A Descriptive Exercise:

    I want you to leave this page and google something that will result in people photos. ("Casual fashion", "casual photos", and "teenager" yield lots) Look at the picture for about three to five seconds and try to write a description.
    Now look back, what do you remember about what they looked like? It's likely you remember far more about major features like hair colour, hairstyle, skin colour, and basic clothing description, rather than details like their jewellery or eye colour. With this girl
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    I noticed she had wavy blonde hair, a pale complexion, and wore a denim jacket and black ruffles skirt. I didn't see her long or close enough to note that she also had dark eyes, was wearing lipstick, has a cute, petite nose, that there are brown colours in her hair as well as a slight cowlick, or that she wore a hoodie under the jacket, and also had a bracelet.

    Bear this in mind when describing a character; you can mention the details later, but since Roleplay is usually written in third person ("she said" vs "I said" [first person], or "you said" [second person]), you need to give initial description from the perspective of someone who isn't looking the character over with a magnifying glass. In addition, when you're talking with someone, you are hopefully more concentrated on their speech, expressions, and face than the details of their clothes or accessories. I personally try to cover only basics that anyone would see in a first intro. The majors I try to include are:
    Hair colour/style
    Complexion
    Mood
    Clothes
    And anything obvious or unusual like being super short or having a face tattoo.

    Initially, go for generalized descriptions; More details can be added when they are likely to be noticed. For instance, after characters have been talking for a couple moments, you may mention your character's earrings, freckles, makeup, dimples, or eye colour; the other character has been looking at their face awhile; it's fair to assume they've seen more than they did at the first glance. Remember that it's not a race; give your partner(s) enough to basically picture the character, and add detail as it becomes relevant, this way you keep the image present rather than dumping it all in the intro and then writing 99% action with almost no new visual info. Saving details can open conversational windows, too. For example, if a character's sleeve catches on something and more of a mostly-hidden tattoo is exposed, the other character(s) have a window to comment on it. If you already mentioned they were wearing a Led Zeppelin tee shirt under the hoodie, you lose a chance to converse about musical taste when they get warm and unzip it.

    Some people of course prefer to use pictures, or have a character sheet to use as a reference; these are simply my reccomendations for written description in an intro and early in the Roleplay.
     
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