Do you suffer from fuzzy character syndrome?

unanun

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I think most of us can agree that making character sheets is a central allure of RP. I am a lazy RPer, but that doesn't mean I don't like looking at beautifully crafted and beautifully written sheets, like this one from Pearls of Persia, the epic WaRP (wide area... RP?):


Article:
Appearance
Tora.jpg


For a woman of Dein, Tóra is not all that remarkable. The crown of her head reaches a little shy of six feet and she has the solid sturdy build typical of those who hail from the frozen wastes of the north. Likewise, Tóra adorns herself in the style of her homelands. Her hair and clothes are often adorned with beads and the trinkets of strange gods, an axe is rarely far from her hands and she bares the tattoos so important and prized by denizens of Dien.

Those who have spent time amongst the north folk and are keen of eye might notice that Tóra actually has curiously few of these almost sacred markings. Likewise there are a few other curiosities that the observant may notice about this northerner. Her ears for example are almost inhumanely tapered to a point. Her cuspid teeth are devilishly pointed and almost fang like. And in the dark of night, her eyes will shine bright in the light of the moon.


Tora certainly paints an imposing picture, right? The first paragraph tells me about their general appearance, and the second hints at something underneath and sinister.

I find that after such an amazing introduction is written, it's commonly never brought up again. This problem is not exclusively found in RP, and I'm definitely not accusing Applos here of doing that. It's something I've noticed myself doing, and seen in books at the caliber of Of Mice and Men, where the main characters are described just once in the beginning. Eventually, the character just becomes a hazy beige blob from which dialog emits, and sometimes an arm shoots out with a sword.

There are many ways to memorize things, and we've all memorized things for school. They all share one thing in common: repetition. Why is that such detailed and beautiful imagery is usually only said once and we have to flip back to remind ourselves? Try to constantly work reminders of your character's appearance into every post. There's a balancing act here, since you don't want to keep writing about his bottomless gossamer eyes, but the teeth stand out to me as important. Does she always bare her devilish fangs when smiling, or does she only use them to intimidate, and hides them with friends?

A personal example - I have a character who has undergone human kintsugi - golden joinery - where injuries they have sustained in battle are repaired with a gold alloy. I try to write about these veins of gold whenever he takes his armour off. Not on every post, but at least when he takes the armour off for the first time in any scene. Otherwise, the image that I have in my mind may not transfer to my partner or the reader.

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Applo

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I'm definitely not accusing Applos here of doing that.
I almost certainly do XD

This gave me a lot to think about with my posts going forwards.
 
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Diana

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This is a fun tip for writers to remember to occasionally reference your character's physical characteristics and how they apply in certain scenes! It's a really great way to add more content and flavor to your posts too. 8D We write these character sheets with all these juicy details, we ought to use them!

Some random things off the top of my head:

- If you're in a humid space that can affect different hair textures (and can be a fun problem for your character if it hinders them, or if they're insecure about appearances)

- Clothing seems unimportant... until it's very important. Temperature changes. Loose clothing getting snagged and ripped. Uncomfortable too tight jeans.

- Jewelry can introduce physicality in twisting rings, tugging earrings, always messing with a necklace, etc.

- Tattoos and scars! If you got 'em, find reasons to show them off in text! Have at least one scene in your roleplay where you learn more about the character because someone needs to know the how/why from a scar/tattoo! That's always fun!

- Shoes are not always made for all kinds of weather and terrain >:D

I'm sure other people could add in some fun suggestions too!
 

firejay1

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I find that I tend to reference character descriptions only insofar as they relate to character personality. Generally speaking, bc my mind's eye is very poor at drumming up real visual images, I intentionally try not to talk about my character's physical appearances that much. I just generally don't think they always have to matter that much. But I make exceptions for physical aspects of a character that affect the world around them, or display well an aspect of their history or personality.

For instance, one of my RP characters is a large bulky man who towers over his mother, but not his wife. When he's talking to his wife, I end up focusing more on his imperious presence and the intensity of his eyes, bc those are character points that matter for their budding relationship. His mother is much more intimidating than he is, in a way, so when describing their interactions, I don't describe any of that stuff, instead I write about how he has to drop to one knee to interact with her, because hunching over doesn't suit what she taught him. That sort of thing.
 

unanun

Child is born, with a heart of gold
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Fabulous ideas!! I look forward to incorporating some of these into my writing as well.