Your Characters’ Physical Appearance
Figuring out your characters’ physical appearance can take time. Don’t stress until at least the first edit of your story. Describing them is such a minute piece of the overall story. Be like me and don’t bother with too much description. But I believe as a writer you do need to know yourself what each character looks like. It is a great feeling when you finally see them in your mind’s eye. My descriptions always remain rather vague. I like to imagine a character’s appearance myself when I’m reading rather than have a complete picture painted for me. Perhaps you’ve already discovered I don’t go into too much descriptive detail of my characters? But during the writing of a story, a visual arrives in my head. It might be from a picture I’ve seen on TV or a movie. Or in a magazine or newspaper. Or someone I’ve seen or know.
I first wrote about Justin Titirangi in “Worlds Apart” over ten years ago. As a secondary character he needed little physical description. But when it was time for him to tell his story this year ( my WIP is tentatively entitled “Justin’s Story” – yes, I know, its a wildly imaginative and inventive working title) he came to life on the pages. But for 30 thousand words his looks remained a mystery to me. Oh, he was tall (I write romance so that had to be), and dark (that was a given due to his Maori heritage) with a beautiful smile – courtesy of All Black hooker Keven Mealamu – but beyond that, he was just a shadow. But recently I spied Justin. Not only was the physical appearance perfect, but this man’s voice and quiet personality fit Justin exactly. Now Justin has jumped from the pages to sit beside me while I continue his story.
Do I use people I know as “blueprints” for my characters? Ahh, I’m not telling.