Character Descriptions - Page 2


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Thread: Character Descriptions

  1. #11
    Seamus tip-toed quickly along the darkening shore, placing his feet carefully to avoid sharp shells and slimy seaweed. Tangled in mounds, sandy and smelly, it might in fact disguise something far worse, some little corpse of the sea, days dead, tenderized by rot. New sneakers, tied together securely and slung over his shoulder, rested safely on chest and shoulder blade, but he held the forward toe tightly, even so.
    His feet were cold. His stomach growled again. He could not help but look back along his course a couple times, but each step he’d taken, the sea had also taken, until he found himself at the concrete boat ramp and watched his sister’s car pull up, not a moment to soon.

    Deirdre motioned him into her hatchback. He opened the door, handing her his shoes, which she tossed in the back, and he sat, but kept his feet outside, swiping at the wet sand between his toes.
    “No time Seamus.”
    “But you’ll get sand-
    “Bring your feet in boyo and shut the door, we have to go!”
    “Don’t you have a towel?”
    “NO! Shut the door and put your belt on.” Deirdre let off watching the rear view mirror, and glanced back at him. “Seamus no, shhh, I’m sorry, it’s alright, just be quick, okay?”
    She sped backwards then, his closing of the door, and the locking click of the belt signifying release.
    Last edited by Eluixa; October 9th, 2011 at 02:58 AM.
    'The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.'
    David Foster Wallace

  2. #12
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    Eluxia, I love the description of the rotting seaweed. I am trying to see Seamus and his sister, but all I can tell is that Seamus is tired and dirty and anxious to clean his feet. Deirdre is in a hurry. That's all I can tell about her. I have tried, but just can't make sense out of this last sentence: She sped backwards then, the click of the door, and the belt signifying release. This is an intriguing scene, but doesn't have much in it to describe either character. Maybe if I understood that last sentence I would get more from it.

  3. #13
    Deirdre was mostly used to tell more about Seamus. I realized when I finished that I had two characters rather than one, but you'd said dialogue could be used, so that would imply another character.
    The last line is just that his clicking the door shut and clicking his seatbelt in, meant she was released to leave, which is what she was in a hurry to do. Like yours, I would need quite a bit more story to say more of Seamus.
    Because I know what is going on, and I wrote it, of course, I can see the hints I used to explain his character. When I have some more time, I'll try again with another. More obvious, hopefully. This one was subtle I guess. Maybe I need to be less subtle for something so short. I don't tend to like to hit people over the head though, lol.
    The description of the seaweed is in fact a hint to his character. He is a highly sensitive and meticulous child.
    Last edited by Eluixa; October 8th, 2011 at 11:21 PM.
    'The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.'
    David Foster Wallace

  4. #14
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    Now I see the problem. You said the click of the seatbelt signified RELEASE, and I took that to mean one of them was getting out of the car. You meant "release from being stuck there" then? If that's the case, you really should change the word, since we'll associate it with the release of a seatbelt. Also, why did she speed back in reverse? Because of the way she was parked? That's what I first guessed. But I had scenarios where Seamus had got out of the car and starting running away from it, then it stopped making any sense. All from the word "release" I think.

    However, you got my interest in Seamus for sure. I want to know why he was so far down the beach that he was tired and hungry, and had been gone so long that it was getting dark. That made me curious to know more.
    Last edited by Phyllis; October 9th, 2011 at 02:14 AM.

  5. #15
    Changed it a touch. Not sure if that makes it clearer. But this was just for learning. I'll make another eventually. That it has potential for interest is something for sure.
    'The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.'
    David Foster Wallace

  6. #16
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    Now it can't be confusing. I see that Seamus is starting to cry, so he must be very sensitive, and she knows this about him. Forgot to mention that clue earlier, though I did get it. I think it might be reworded though:

    She sped backwards then, his closing of the door, and the locking click of the belt signifying release.
    His closing of the door and the locking click of the belt signifying release, she sped away.

    Comma not needed after "then" ... and "backwards" is not needed, maybe still confusing.
    Last edited by Phyllis; October 9th, 2011 at 05:23 AM.

  7. #17
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    A character description for this IS allowed to describe looks, right? So far, these are character introductions rather than descriptions. As I see it, these are characters who will be described in little details dropped as the story progresses. Sometimes, though, you want to describe how a character looks to give a visual impression to the reader, right?

    A peculiar man crossed the parking lot, pants tucked into tall boots and the tails of a cranberry-colored jacket slapping at the backs of his knees with each step. He was young and clean-shaven, though his hair was brown and unruly, tamed only by a satin bow at the nape of his neck. As he passed through the sliding doors, he inclined his head to the greeter, one hand laid delicately over his heart. The greeter could scarcely believe that only a moment earlier, the man had slipped from behind the wheel of a Toyota Camry.
    I have no idea where that scene goes (probably nowhere). Usually, my descriptions are more like this in story context:

    Jonathan Thomas disgusted her. His lips were too thin, his fingers too long and pale. He ran them through his blond hair constantly, leaving pieces sticking up all over like exposed wires. Joy kept silent despite her anger. Thomas was a slight man, but behind his milky gray eyes and nervous affectations, Joy saw a deadly confidence.

  8. #18
    Slythgeek, while your first description is definitely interesting and I am inclined to want to know more, I really felt the second description better. It just flowed. It even kind of creeped me out, which is great. I am already wary of Jonathan Thomas.
    The first read better the second and third times. Tamed by a satin bow almost feels too cliche though, to be honest. I am left curious though, as to why his hand is held over his heart.
    'The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.'
    David Foster Wallace

  9. #19
    I don't know about physical descriptions to the reader. Personally, I don't care for them. Maybe an important trait or two, but that's about it. The truth is, the reader is going to develop a mental image of a character very quickly, and it probably isn't going to be in complete accordance with what the author is envisioning. As you start putting in those greater levels of detail, the user will at best simply ignore them in favor of her own mental image, or at worst be jarred by them because they conflict with what she is already seeing in her head. If you take a single, important trait and go with that, without providing much else, you're a lot more likely to actually impact the reader's vision of your character. That's my view, at any rate. When I'm reading, I don't like a lot of description of characters, and I don't provide much as a writer.

  10. #20
    Member slythgeek's Avatar
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    Personally, I like a good physical description. That's one thing I enjoy most about J.K. Rowling. She goes overboard with adverbs sometimes in her dialogue and strays into bad pacing a lot, but her character descriptions always have me visualizing in the best possible way. F. Scott Fitzgerald also wrote beautiful physical descriptions. Just read how he describes Daisy Fay in The Great Gatsby. It's not something that shouldn't be written, just something that should be written carefully. Of course, it's not always necessary, but I think it's a fun exercise.

    I agree that I was a little cliche with that first one. It was spur-of-the-moment, and it often takes the second edit to get rid of cliches. I'm not sure I feel like editing it, though. It's not interesting enough for me to go on. Jonathan Thomas, however, is part of a larger story that's already mostly complete. That's why he's much richer.

    My husband is fantastic at writing character descriptions. I wish I had his knack for it!

    I'm new to the forum, but I assumed this section was for writing exercises/challenges and not arguing whether said challenges are valid at all. If I was not supposed to post my own take on the exercise, please correct me.

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