Jump to content

Writing Tip: Physical Description



While poking around in the forums the other day I found myself in the Editor's forum looking at a thread concerning physical descriptions and how authors handle writing them. It seemed the biggest concern was how to get the info across without the story sounding like something plucked from the Nifty's "First Time" collection.

I'm not going to repeat all the discussion from there to here, if you are an author, you should read it. If you are a new author... please read it. What I am going to do, though, is give you all a couple links to also look into at your leisure.

The first is Effective Character Description by Marg McAlister. Her philosophy boils down to:


Your job, as a writer, is to introduce your characters in a way that:
  1. is interesting
  2. brings them to life for the reader
  3. conjures up an image that is as close as possible to the way you see them in your mind
  4. gives the reader more information than just their physical appearance - i.e. also gives an insight into their personality and what drives them


The second, Great Character Descriptions from Science Fiction and Fantasy Books, is really a list of several descriptions from published books and a commentary of why they work.

and the third, The Basics of Introducing a Character by Camy Tang, which covers three basic points:

  1. Create a Strong, Quick First Impression
  2. Make the Characters Act
  3. Don’t Crowd the Scene

Hope this helps.

And remember, we are encouraging requests for the kinds of tips you would like to see and for people to write tips and story reviews. If you would like to volunteer, send a PM.

  • Like 3


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..