An author will definitely end up needing to describe his/her characters to the reader. However, this is as much an art as any other. Authors should avoid the "He had this. He had that." approach, and instead explain it as they go along.
Ways to incorporate physical features in action Edit
- He stretched his muscular arms.
- Her dark brown bangs obscured her face.
- His blue eyes twinkled with amusement.
- He flashed his overly shiny teeth in a quick, fleeting smile.
- Her thin red lips curled downward as she frowned.
Here is an example of the right way and the wrong way to do it.
- Wrong: He had blond hair and brown eyes. His face was round and babyish. He bent to retie his shoelaces, and then looked up at his friend.
- RIght: His blond hair fell over his round, babyish face, obscuring his eyes (so don’t mention the color here, since they’re obscured) as he bent to retie his shoelaces. He looked up at his friend, his brown eyes meeting her blue ones.
Physical appearance is nice, but if all your readers can do to describe your character is to say what they look like, you may need to look back at your characters. Think of some common traits that people you know have. Just thinking of one personality trait will open the door for many others that this character has and does not have. Examples:
- If a character is arrogant, they will likely also be confident and talkative. They are not likely to be shy and insecure.
- If a character is impulsive, they will likely be overly-confident and short-tempered. They probably won't be calm, cool, or relaxed.