character-description

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Favorite Fitz’s Heart Eyes Moments [7/10]

3x07 - I was as clear headed then as I’ve ever been. Fitz looks at Jemma like he can’t breath. Like she’s the air he living on. I can almost feel the knots in his stomach as he looks at her; waiting, wondering what the next move between them will be. (x)

Anonymous asked:

Sometimes I feel like I don’t describe some characters enough. MC is fine (1st pov), but lesser characters with little “screen time” get 1 or 2 traits (physical or habitual). Rarely hair color/style, just a name and something to associate with them, usually personality. I couldn’t find help with Google. What do you think? 


If a character appears in only one or two scenes, one or two traits are fine. However, if the character appears in more than two scenes, you really ought to describe them a little bit more than that. You can do two or three traits on their first appearance, add a couple more on the second, and add another one or two in every scene they appear in after that. Character description is about layering, and by adding layers throughout the story, you help to maintain your reader’s image of this character. :)

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Have a writing question? I’d love to hear from you! Please be sure to read my ask rules and master list first or your question may go unanswered. :)  

Describing Skin Tone

Anonymous asked: Aaaaugh I’m really sorry to ask this and I know you answer questions like this all the time but I haven’t been able to find a straight answer anywhere else. Is there any possibility that you might know whether it’s considered offensive to describe people as having wood-colored skin? I know it’s considered offensive to compare skin color to food, but if it was said that someone had mahogany or pinewood skin or something, do you think that would be okay? Again, I’m really sorry.

This question is one not only of style but also of knowing and relating to your intended audience. There are no hard and fast rules on which descriptive words for skin color will be offensive to everyone every time. Though many descriptors for skin color have been identified as offensive or acceptable by large groups of people in the past, the reality is that every reader has their own preferences.

Similarly, there is no word choice that will fit perfectly in every stylistic circumstance. Tone, pacing, genre, character development, theme, and desired voice must all be taken into account.

So, you can understand that is difficult to advise you in any specific way. We cannot tell you yes or no. The best answer is that it depends.

The trick, I believe, is to think critically about the denotation and connotation of the word in question and use your best judgement. That judgement is born of experience and research, which means writing people with skin tones other than yours and learning about representing people who do not look like you from people who do not look like you. You may not have the experience or have done the research, and that’s okay, but the only person who can answer your question is you. You know your style and level of experience. You know the circumstances. You are the one who knows your intended audience and interacts with your readers. 

This is a situation where the answer cannot just be given to you. You need to do the research and gain the experience, then you can decide these things for yourself.

Here are a few resources to speed you on your way:

Thank you for your question! If you have any comments on this article or other questions about writing, you can message us here

-C and Q

9

Stop Calling Me Pastries 2/3

27 skin tones, five descriptions each, no cannibalism required.

 #F2DCC7: Coral Cloud, Desert Bone, Florence Marble, Sand Trap, Sunwashed Beach

#E1C3A7: Dust Bunny, Homespun Linen, Snail Shell, Tumbleweed Tan, Washed Khaki

#E8B290: Approaching Autumn, Copper Dust, Coral Coast, Rambling Rose, Wickerwork

#DC9B85: Beach Treasure, Desert Dawn, Opal Fire, Rosy Coral, Warm Autumn

#D1937C: Autumn Fern, Earthen Trail, Rosedust, Rustic Pottery, Sienna Brown

#D87F85: Bird of Paradise, Coming Up Roses, Love Potion, Pacific Sunset, Pink Flamingo

#C98560: Copper Wire, Ember Glow, Fall Foliage, Georgian Leather, Wash of Rust

#B3754E: Cinnabar, Clay Vessel, Fallen Leaf, Leather Jacket, Pale Russet

#924517: Brick Dust, Copper Starfire, Grecian Bronze, Ochre Brown, Tinder Box

credits: photos from humanae, hex codes fromimagecolorpicker, paint color names from encycolorpedia

When introducing characters in your novel, everyone says to avoid an infodump– that unsavory block of text where you throw a wall of description and backstory at a reader. Here are a few tips to avoid infodump:

  • Pepper in description and details as the story unfolds, whether through narration and dialogue. A few nods to a character’s habits or favorite things or even a glimpse of their past can be revealed through a quick conversation. “I swear, I didn’t lose the prophecy!” Maria wrings her hands in dismay, because she can’t exactly remember where she left that scroll. Ugh, just like when she lost half of her uncle’s sheep. Then later in a different scene– possibly when there’s time for introspection, Maria can recall more about her childhood and her affinity for misplacing things.
  • Alternate between general and particular details to give a reader a sense of someone without overwhelming. John was a giant of a man who occasionally would eat a raw onion like an apple, perturbing the other customers.

A good way to start is to describe character details with the five senses:

  • Sight. What do these characters look like? Don’t go all in at once– give a general impression like a strong jaw and wild curls and then get particular as we get to know more about the character. Throw in a few details about the color of their hair as they’re moving through an action scene, or contrast two characters in the same scene. 
  • Sound. This can be interpreted in a few ways– what does your character sound like? Do they have a distinct voice? High pitched? Nasally? Gruff? Do they sing or play an instrument? How do other characters view them/ associate sounds with them? 
  • Smell. Memory and scent are intrinsically tied together– your character smelling something can be a great catalyst for a strong memory, so you don’t have to pause the plot to introduce a little bit of backstory, just throw in a few sentences about what your character associates with this scent and what it means. Scent can also be an interesting way to describe other characters– as compelling, attractive, positive or negative.
  • Taste. Does your character have a favorite food? Do they experience new things in the story and taste things for the first time– what kind of opinions do they have on these new tastes? Do they kiss anyone? Describe a kiss not just in terms of action but in taste and feel– see next point.
  • Touch. Physical sense is a great way to get a feel for a character. Do they have an aversion to touch? Do they like hugging? Throw in details that suggest tangibility to bring this person to life– what their hair feels like, how rough or soft their skin is.

More writing resources

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character descriptions // james potter 

writershelpingwriters.net
The Writer's Bane: Describing a Character's Physical Appearance - WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™

by Angela Ackerman

I’m going to be totally honest here. There is little I detest more than trying to describe how my character looks. The reasons are numerous. I think it sounds boring. It slows the story. It reads like a list or sounds cliched, etc, blargh de blargh.

I write in first person, to boot, making it even more difficult to create natural-sounding character description without using the dreaded MIRROR technique. After all, every time a writer uses a mirror to describe their character’s physique, somewhere in the world a zombie dies. Think about that. Right now, Zombies are dying. I can’t add to this terrible crime. Can you?

But then I read Word Painting and realized I was looking at it all wrong. Physical description doesn’t need to be a dry, tasteless blob of facts to help the writer see our character. It can be seasoned and textured, and doled out bite by savory bite.

Read More →

anonymous asked:

I'm writing a fantasy novel, and almost all the protags are POC. I prefer to describe their race by saying they are what they are - Korean, black, Middle-Eastern, etc. However, I'm transcribing those cultures into my fantasy world, and they won't have the same names. Is there a way to make their race obvious with explicitly stating it or resorting to offensive language, like "chocolate skin" or "angled eyes"?

I’m going to refer you to these four guides:

Catalogue of Human Features - This has visual representation of body types, breast shapes, face shapes, nose shapes, eye shapes, eyebrow shapes, lip shapes, hair shades, hair types, hairlines, eye shapes, eye colors, and skin tones.

Guide to Human Types Part I - These show Asian body types by region (including native North Americans) and their common or typical features.

Guide to Human Types Part II - This includes European, North African, Middle Eastern, and some South Asian.

Guide to Human Types Part III - This includes African and Pacific (Melanesia, Polynesia, Australia, and New Guinea)

The above won’t give you the varieties that actually exist, so go outside the features shown in the guides. Once you’ve described a few people of a certain race, you can just start referring to others as what race they are in that world so you can describe other things about their appearance instead (the way they walk, their clothing, their hairstyle, scars, a more detailed description of their lips, etc.).

More:

anonymous asked:

I was wondering if you had any type of information on age progression with children as how would a four year old act what type of characteristics would he or she have

We are not a child psychology blog (or else we’re a stupendously bad child psychology blog). It is with heavy hearts, therefore, that we must admit that we do not have many (any) in-house resources for the developmental stages of tiny humans. We do, however, have links! 

I highly recommend the book The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits: Includes Profiles of Human Behaviors and Personality Types by Linda N. Edelstein for basic profiles of children in various social and psychological situations from the need-to-know perspective of a writer. 

Other than that, here are some resources for writing four(ish) year olds:

And here are some general resources on writing children:

Also, I bet there are some parents out there on Tumblr who may be willing resources for you, anon. If you’d like to be a resource for this anon on four year olds, please reply to this post. Please do not send us a message with your interest. (It’s much easier for us and for the anon and for everyone, really, if you just reply directly to the post.)

If anyone else has any resources they think would go nicely with this list, please send them along!

Thank you for… wondering…! 

-C

anonymous asked:

do you have any tips on describing facial features (such as piercings, hairstyle, tattoos, birthmarks, or expressions? mainly the hair one, i have a lot of trouble with making it seem interesting)

gen

face

hair

more

i hope this helps!

anonymous asked:

Hello!!! I love your adorable drawings!!! Especially Ashton, he's so cute! I was just wondering more about him, like when did he start going by Ashton (what was his birth name) and when did he start using he/him pronouns?

Ash has referred to himself as he/him and a boy for pretty much whole life but it’s something that didn’t catch on to his family and friends until he was about 8 years old. He got the name “Ash” (later “Ashton”) from constantly watching the Pokemon anime (the main character’s name is Ash Ketchum in the English dub if you’re unfamiliar lol) and started calling himself by the name as early as 5, though. His moms always thought it was just a cute nickname he gave himself.. (unfortunately they never really thought much of Ash’s noticeable aversion to being called a girl/referred to with she/her pronouns when he was little) until, when he’s around 8, they started getting notices from his school that he was being marked as absent like.. every day… and they come to find out that when the teacher was taking attendance/calling roll in the morning Ash wasn’t answering her because the teacher would call out his birth name (“Melody”)… and that just wasn’t him! They sit him down and talk to him about it and that’s basically the major point in his story where everyone realizes he’s a boy… and he always has been. So from then on his family started referring to him as just Ashton and with he/him pronouns and it was great and Ash is very happy! His family and friends have been very understanding and he feels very grateful and lucky.

Unfortunately his birth name still pops up from time to time (mostly the first day of school by teachers who are just meeting him) but luckily it’s pretty rare nowadays. Ash ended up making a shirt with his name on it that he wears every first day of school/class so people will get his name right lol.

and he only used 2 whole bottles of glitter.

Describing Chinese Girls

Anonymous asked: How would you describe a Chinese girl’s physical appearance, specifically eyes and skin tone? I have heard describing her eyes as almond is offensive and leads to the belief that is prevalent in some Asian countries that their eyes are not good enough or beautiful, but I also don’t want to exotic-ise them. I also have poor colour perception but know my readers probably won’t, otherwise would have looked at colour swatches. Thank you

I’d start looking for Chinese people from the region of your story’s setting who would be willing to help you out with your research. Once you’ve found a few takers, politely ask them how they would describe themselves. 

If you’re writing from an outsider’s perspective—that is, you’re writing not as the Chinese girl character but from the viewpoint of a non-Chinese or perhaps non-East Asian character—you might do research on how people of your viewpoint character’s culture and time period describe(d) Chinese people who look like your Chinese girl character. 

And another thing: “almond-shaped” can be offensive to some, but keep in mind that not everyone takes offense to the same things. My issue with “almond-shaped” as a descriptor for what has also been termed “Asian eyes” (also a super vague and inadequate descriptor, in my opinion) is that an almond shape to the eye is one of the most common eye shapes across all races in the whole world. In my opinion, my eyes are almond-shaped, and I’m not Chinese or even East Asian. 

And this descriptor has only become even more ineffectual as it has grown into a cliche. It’s just not all that helpful a term. If you feel you must describe the shape of your Chinese character’s eyes, I suggest you find another way. As with everywhere else in the world, there is a wide spectrum of diversity in eye shape among Chinese people. Luckily, there are lots of resources online with listed terms for describing eye shape and plenty of people with these eye shapes whose opinions you could ask. Google and enjoy!

The comments section of this NPR article offers up an interesting discussion on the topic of East Asian eye shape. Have a look.

As far as skin color goes—again, this characteristic can vary widely. You would need to research time period, region, and social class at the very least to help pinpoint the most likely skin colors of your Chinese girl character.

The viewpoint character is also important here. If the viewpoint character is a white guy, for example, he might describe your Chinese girl character’s skin as darker or browner (or perhaps not, depending) or smoother or less freckled than his own. If the Chinese girl herself is the viewpoint character, then others would be darker or lighter or tanner or browner or pinker or milkier or fairer or whiter or more wrinkled or less blemished or whatever-er compared to her. Do you see what I mean? 

Skin color is not as simple as brown or not brown and then a variance of darker to lighter. Skin has tones. It has many colors, blemishes, and scars. It can be hairy or smooth or cracked and dry or shiny or beaded with sweat or lined or tired-looking or freckled or colored with a blush or drained of color or sallow or firm or supple.

Countries and cultures are not made up of clones. People are distinct, and that distinction is worth noting. There is nuance in all things, and it’s your job as a writer to capture it. 

Thanks for your question! If any of our followers have suggestions for the anon, feel free to comment on this post or send us a message!

-C

  • metaphoricaluniverse asked: To the person describing a Chinese character, I’d steer away from “almond shape eyes” because it is so controversial. I’m not sure what kind of Chinese you want, but generally the eyes are single lidded, and wide-set. As for skin color, if you’re going light, I’d avoid porcelain. I don’t find “food” descriptions (e.g. creamy) offensive but some people do. If you’re going darker, I’ve personally heard my skin described as golden, honey, tawny, all of which I don’t mind. Hope that helps(:

Thank you! I want to reiterate that the use of “almond-shaped” to describe people with certain eye shapes is a matter of preference. Some people take offense to it, others don’t care. I find it to be as cliched as it is ineffectual in its ambiguity. Ah well. 

I don’t like to use words like “generally” when speaking of populations as large as China’s (over 1.3 billion in 2013), but I appreciate the benefit of your opinion. “Single-lidded” eyes are certainly common in China and throughout East Asia, as are “double-lidded” eyes and eyes that fall somewhere in between (yes, there is a spectrum to be found here as well).

“Food” descriptions, or the use of words like “chocolate” or “honey” to describe skin tone, can be offensive to some, similarly to the use of “almond"—also a food—to describe eye shape. Whatever words you use, anon, be sure that you are describing your character as you wish her to be represented after careful research and consideration on your part of both your style and your audience. That’s the most anyone can hope for from a writer: thoughtfulness. 

Anyway, thank you to metaphoricaluniverse for their reply!

-C

  • Anonymous asked: I came across the ask of how do you describe the appearance of a Chinese girl and I thought I could help a little, being Chinese myself. There are Chinese with big eyes and small ones, so it just depends on how you want your character to look like. Chinese people are generally fair or slight tanned because quite a lot use whitening cream and cover their skin from the sun and there are the tanned ones like me because they are more sporty and outdoors, so that can contribute to the personality.

Again, I’m uncomfortable with using that word "generally” to describe over 1.3 billion people, but thank you so much for taking the time to provide your point of view! I am sure the anon will find your perspective helpful!

-C

  • xxbscxx said: To the Anon asking about how to describe Chinese girls. I’m Chinese so I guess I’ll say what I know. There are actually different ways to describe a the eyes. I’ve seen some Chinese girls with big doe eyes and some with “almond eyes”, it all depends. The hair, well, we commonly have two/three textures: silky, oily, or dry. Pretty much your average type of hair. Skin colour would vary from brown (if they tan easily. I’m serious), “yellow”, or near pale in some cases (this is more common).

Thank you for your input! I think your message further illustrates the amount of diversity under the umbrella term Chinese. Wonderful, wonderful!

-C