Writing Better Character Descriptions
by Michael Bjork
We writers have a particularly tough job: bringing nonexistent people (our characters) to life in our readers’ imaginations. While it’s never easy, we usually accomplish this magic by writing each character with two qualities in mind:
1) Their personality
2) Their physical appearance
Personality is usually expressed through characterization, and appearance through physical description. Admittedly, that doesn't sound so complicated.
But there are two things I’ll suggest today: first, that description needs to do more than just craft appearance, and second, it’s good characterization, more than anything, that’s the key to conjuring vivid characters.
Let’s take a look at the following example.
1) When I entered Mr. Smith's office, he stood from his desk and smiled. He had a big nose, brown eyes, and short, blond hair. He wore a dark suit. I shook his hand.