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Monday, February 05, 2007

Character descriptions

You don’t need a paragraph to describe your character, whether the Point of View character or any other character in the scene. A segment of descriptive narrative slows down the reading flow, and you want to keep your reader riveted to the page.

Make character descriptions short, strong, and unique.

Short—Again, you don’t need a paragraph. Start off with a short phrase or sentence at the beginning of the scene, and sneak in bits of description as the scene progresses.

Strong—Use vivid and specific language. Don’t be wishy-washy and use words like nice car, lovely flower, short man. Instead, use richer language like firecracker-red Mazda RX-7, a crisply unfolding creamy orchid, a few inches above a fire hydrant.

Unique—Avoid clichés. Period. Instead of dirty dishwater blonde, think up something more original and unusual, limp hair lying in strips like a paper mulberry tree. Read good writing to see good description at work.

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