Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August Writing Challenges: Day 2 - Character Description

August. The summer is nearly over. Kids are going back to school. You now have some time on your hands.  Okay, you still have a list of chores a mile long, but let's put writing at the top of the priority list, okay?

I am going to challenge you with a writing prompt every day this month. Are you up for it? I hope so.

The writing challenges will be about a variety of topics and hopefully cause you to dig into your writing toolbox to complete with emotional skill.

Watch out, I just might throw in a fun one, well, just for fun!

For the second challenge we're really going to discover how descriptive you can be with characters:

Here is your challenge:

You swore you would not go to Thanksgiving dinner at your cousin's house ever again if she invited her ex-boyfriend. You go. He's there. Describe the dinner.

Tip: How do you reveal character through description?

The most obvious way to reveal characters is by describing what they look like: handsome or plain, wrinkled or smith face, color of hair, height, slim or average or fat, what kind of clothing they wear  and so forth.

Beginning writers overuse this techniques and often blurt everything out of the first time we meet the character.

People writing in the first person have an even harder time. Typically they end up having their character look in a mirror. It's an overused solution and it's clumsy.

When using description, pick out specific, interesting details. Try to stay away from generic descriptions like "handsome" or "attractive" or "motherly" unless you're just giving a quick indication of a minor character. For your major characters, provide specifics. For inspiration, consider the people you know.  When you base your descriptions on reality, you are less likely to fall back on cliches.

You can reveal character through:

  • Setting
  • Action
  • Other People's Eyes

Have fun with this challenge!

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