Character Descriptions in Fiction

Take time to consider the characters

I’m writing a novel and after I got halfway through chapter three I decided to stop and write character descriptions. Fiction is about the people and why the reader should care about the story.

In this case, the novel I’m currently working on is not erotic. However, the principle in my mind applies to any form of fiction–genre-specific, general, crime, literary, you-name-it.

I noticed the original premise for my story began to shift and so I stopped to write character descriptions.

For each character, I titled “Who is [character name]?”

And then I wrote about that character — age, looks, personality, education, what he/she cares about or doesn’t care about.

In this way, the story can be true to who the characters are and it makes the writer familiar with who the character really is. I believe thorough character descriptions are necessary whether the writer outlines or doesn’t outline. Taking time to write character descriptions before trying to finish the novel or short story is like prep work before painting. It may seem tedious, but ultimately it makes the task more quality.

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About DD Symms

Writing is foundational to our communication like running is to sports.
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