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Thursday, July 7, 2016

To Describe Or Not To Describe


In reading newsletters this week, I came across a couple that addressed the same topic...but each expressing the opposite point of view. So, I'll share it with you, my readers, as see if a consensus can be reached.

Do you think your reader needs a detailed description of your characters? Now, I'm not talking about an information dump...or the obvious self-description as a character views him/herself in a mirror kind-of-writing. I'm referring to telling the reader what color hair, the color of the eyes, the shape of the body, etc.

I found lots of great sites on the subject when I went googling. Here are a few quotes to tease and links to read for yourself.

"Description doesn’t have to be direct to be effective." Rachel Scheller
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/11-secrets-to-writing-effective-character-description

Writers Stack Exchange - "I think that you should define your main characters, and especially the love interest, only as much as absolutely necessary."
http://writers.stackexchange.com/questions/12717/is-it-better-to-describe-the-main-characters-physical-appearance-early-on-in-th

Jami Gold -  "As with many elements of writing, we need to decide what impression we want readers to have." http://jamigold.com/2014/10/ask-jami-how-do-we-describe-characters/

My personal choice? I grew up listening to radio, a great imagination stimulator. Rather than a description of physical attributes, I rely more on mannerisms and emotional reactions to define my characters. My motto? Let the reader envision their own concept of the character.

Now I'd like to hear your opinion.