Character Description Exercise – Helping the Reader to See

Time: 30 – 60 minutes

Action Step #1 – What goes into turning a simple description into a character? There are several things to consider: What are they wearing at the time you meet them? What are they doing? How do they look? The last question opens you up to an entire world of personal attributes to zoom in on: eyes, nose, hair, hands, legs and whatever other body parts are showing.

Give you readers a mental picture of your romance hero or heroine first before building any other traits into the character. Find a picture in a magazine of a man or a woman. Write down the physical attributes that you notice about the person in the picture.

Action Step #2 – How do you see the world around you? The first answer would be, “with your eyes” but when you recount an experience you’ve had, you are adding details that came from more than just your eyes. Part of a character’s “being” is how they are perceived by others. It helps develop their traits. Does the person seem to be behaving badly? Do they look like they are hiding something?

Give your magazine man or woman another layer by using your emotions and intuition. We know how the person looks after Action Step #1. Now, how do we feel about them? Learning this step will help add dimension to your story characters.

Action Step #3 – Describe a person that you see or have seen today. It could be the woman across from you on the subway or someone standing in the grocery checkout line with you. Study all aspects of that person. Use what you have learned in Action Step #1 and #2 to turn a real person you observe into a character that readers will find believable.