Character Descriptions

Do you ever wonder why eyes are such a huge deal in books? I’ve figured it out. Everything else is more difficult to describe.

Seriously, I am not one that notices eye color when I’m talking to someone. Unless they have killer gorgeous eyes, I usually don’t notice. Yet when I write, my MC, Tessa, notices the eye color of everyone. (Maybe I’m the weird one because I don’t notice. I dunno.)

The other day during revisions I tried to describe one of my guy characters, Sol. (The characters from Melisma have musical names. Hence the weirdness.) As I tried to describe him, I couldn’t. He’s hot. Well, uh, that’s great, but what does he look like. Yeah, I got nothing.

Part of my problem is that I can’t visualize my characters in vivid detail. When I read it’s the same way–the characters have general qualities but I couldn’t sit down and draw them. I decided I needed to “cast” my characters. And then read tons of books and study how the characters are described. Here’s the fun I had with my casting:

My sister Abbie a.k.a. TESSA

I actually just realized that my MC looks like my sister. I went searching online for actresses to fit Tessa’s description, but my sis is really her. (Proud sister moment! She just got into the American Musical and Dramatic Academy [AMDA]. Maybe if WITHOUT A SONG ever makes it into a movie, she can actually be Tessa. 🙂 )

Tom Welling a.k.a ISAAC
Tessa’s twin brother

Darren Criss a.k.a. CODA
The friend/wanna-be love interest

Channing Tatum a.k.a. SOL
The love interest

Karen Gillan a.k.a KYRIE
The bad a** friend

So question: how do you visualize your characters? Do you write out their physical descriptions before you even start writing them?

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About Karen Krueger

I write for teens when I'm not chasing after two cute kids. I love to sing and eat cereal (though not at the same time), and I most certainly am not a vampire because I'm addicted to sunshine.
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7 Responses to Character Descriptions

  1. Karen Gillan is in your story???? Why did I never know this until now!

  2. ahmadblues says:

    I’m having the exact same issues … I’ve been typing into Google things how I think my characters should look like – Green Eyes Blond Hair etc …

  3. Ha! I love it! I always have a hard time visualizing my characters too, and I’m definitely too focused on eyes. I usually do what you do, find pictures of people I think look like my characters. And when describing them, I try to just focus on one or two identifying characteristics. Readers are going to come up with their own images of the characters anyway.

    • It’s so true. I know when I read Hunger Games I imagined Katniss with blonde hair..and wasn’t she a brunette? Or was it the other way around? I don’t remember. I just know that I imagined her completely different from the way she was described.

  4. Sel says:

    I’m not a very big Twilight fan, but when I read Eclipse, I imagined Jasper as an African-American with green eyes… No idea why… o.O

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