I have this habit when I am reading of ignoring the description that authors will give of their characters and creating said character in my head as I imagine them from the way they act and the story playing out. There have been many times that someone will say something about a character and I’ll be Huh, I never pictured them with black hair at all, even if it’s clearly laid out in black and white on page seven that they have black hair. It’s the main reason I don’t go into huge description of what my characters look like or at least don’t harp on about it. Sometimes I will mention it because it is crucial for the story. For example you need to know that Auta has blue eyes because it needs to be noted that Spring has green (and I won’t tell you why that is important but that will come out in Nyssa’s Tale and in further story with Spring and Auta.) But all in all I don’t want to push a reader into a hard and fast this is how the character looks and you must imagine them as I dictate. I want the characters to come alive in my reader’s imaginations. I want the reader to create them and bond with them.

Is this the right way to do it? I don’t know. It’s the way I am and perhaps I will make the characters less real to some people who want that description. But it’s my way of doing it and I hope it works for some people.

And maybe one day I’ll befriend an artist who reads my work and they will create little pictures of how they imagine the characters and I’ll be pleasantly surprised that it is the same as me, or pleasantly surprised that they see them very differently. Either way as long as they feel a connection and fondness to the character I will not mind at all.

This has been another rambling post….

0 thoughts on “Well, imagine that…

  1. I think we all do it differently, and I think readers all have different preferences as well. I tend to put in certain details for certain characters and leave the rest up to the reader. Like, my character Nama, his most important features are that he has almost yellow eyes and he’s tall and strong. I actually had to ask some of my readers if they thought he had dark or light hair because I hadn’t actually established that myself. Though, logic dictated that he was dark haired (his mother and father had black hair and three of his grandparents had black hair too)… but I didn’t actually describe it.

    I’ve had a handful of people draw my characters from what they’ve read of my stories and they surprised me a great deal with what they came up with. I think that’s kind of part of how a reader becomes a co creator in the universe by adding their own visions of characters and descriptions. It’s part of being a reader and I think that writers who get too bent out of shape about it are being unfair.

  2. I agree. While reading,I would rather create my own picture of the character, not be told he was tall, dark and handsome. When I write, I have a picture of the character in my mind, but normally I leave it in my mind and hope the reader will see their own picture.

  3. One thing that always bothers me is when writers give a very, very specific description, and then hammer in that “THIS CHARACTER IS ATTRACTIVE. LIKE, REALLY, REALLY ATTRACTIVE.” And the description is something not at all to my taste. Gee, thanks for assuming that standards of attraction are universal. 9_9
    Not that that has much at all to do with your post… *cough*

    But what I was actually going to say before my brain sidetracked me was: Uh… Send me a description, and I’d be happy to give your characters a shot. Not that I’m any badass artist, but I can portrait a little. :3

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