Source: LS, “Creating Unforgettable Characters,” Henry Hold & Co., NY 1990, p. 23. His boots are always spotless. Directors will be turned off pretty quick when finding those in a spec script. Start by getting to know your character, then consider how their character traits might impact their description. Describe their looks and mannerisms. Her clothes hung loosely around her skeletal figure, and her skin was paler than the full moon outside.". She kept pushing her long, dark hair around the sides of her face, as if she was wanting to hide behind it. You don't need to over-explain like this: "Her inky hair shadowed her pale skin like an oil slick on water. It means writing a description that serves the character—whether that’s exciting or mundane. Hamilton always smelled like fresh baked cookies.”. Included in this pack are 10 x A4 posters each showing a different monster like character. Here’s another one, this time from a comedy. How do you write a good character description? ", especially for the tip about reading the thesaurus all the time! Leave that to the director to decide how he will shoot the scene. ", with pride! Maybe they have sturdy jawlines or arching eyebrows. So calling for the guy to wear a red shirt would not work for the director. Ever since, I have seen him grow up to be a patient, responsible and compassionate staff, who looks out for other people’s interests more than his own. "Her eyes were clouded with months of pain, obstructed by her thinning hair. Emphasize these quirks over basic descriptors, such as by mentioning a scar on your character’s face rather than the fullness of their lips. they’re unusually tall / short / skinny / fat / hairy / bald …) but we don’t have long descriptions of exactly how they look. Thanks for the comment, Rachael – glad the post helped. Then, determine other physical details, such as how they stand or what unique features they have. like this: Here, the writers introduce Lee Isreal in the middle of one of the most everyday situations imaginable: asleep on a couch. He could have chosen to introduce Lou scouring CraigsList for a job. Finding the paradoxes – read: the famous SRP-theory of flaws! These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. The words you use to describe the character’s hair will be subliminally applied to the character themself. Example: Julia always wore certain clothes on different days of the week. In closing, keep in mind Truman peering into a camera in his apartment at the start of The Truman Show. We’re simply saying that many aspiring writers introduce their characters in obvious, uninteresting situations unrelated to their flaw – as in the made-up Example #3. • Sometimes professional screenwriters describe their characters as “handsome” or “a natural beauty.”. In this case, 80% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. Or asking a scrap yard manager if he has any vacancies. Is their stance tall and proud? Sample of Character Descriptive Essay. How would I describe a character who is extremely sick? Hence we’re not introduced to a protagonist with a flaw in the usual overt way. Adjectives are used to describe someone’s character and personality. For example, here’s how we first meet Jaime at the start of It Follows: When writing character descriptions like this, genre comes into play. Yet with gratitude in his heart, he comments sincerely that this post was exceptional in its value to him. Sample Character Descriptions From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (Scholastic, 1998) • He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Start with the basics, such as height, build, hair color, and eye color. % of people told us that this article helped them. That she has passionate sex. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Your rock star might wear a leather jacket. Loyalty 4. Note how much more interesting and exciting Example #6 is compared to Example #5. In a book, the writer must be very descriptive. Personally, as a reader, I don’t really care what characters look like … I think this is a good way forward. While application documents like resumes highlight professional qualifications, the character or “personal” reference letter focuses on characteristics that help someone perform well in a job. It is common to describe an individual's character in informal conversation and formal communications such as a character reference. THANK SO MUCH for your new clear and concise lecture, supported by so many valuable examples and exercises! We’re a screenplay consultancy not a novel consultancy so the post is most definitely about screenplays. Think about the strong traits that easily identify your character, such as a pink mohawk, a pointy chin, a hunched back, a distinct walk, a unique smell, etc. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. This article has been viewed 946,181 times. As the author, you want to know what's driving your character. Does it matter if the girl is wearing her hair in a pony tail or just pulled back? [© Photo credits: Flickr / Pexels]. Overall, you want to show the reader the heart of each character right off the bat when we first meet them. How do you approach writing character descriptions? People often choose a hairstyle they think represents them. Not direct the film. In fact, it’s probably pretty hard to say you know anything about who these characters really are when we first meet them. A crewcut might signify … It’s true that Jack’s active here, but how engaging is it? Is it extravagant? This can help you decide if you want to give a full, detailed description of a character or just enough detail to create an impression. Read more. When you introduce a new character, describe her as soon as possible before the reader creates and grows accustomed to their own image. For example, “her eyes dodged his questions.”. Describing Yourself: 4 Different Example Answers Now let’s circle back to how you should answer this question, starting with a quick wham-bam walkthrough just to warm you up. Strong character descriptions work on multiple levels. Adding details (for the specific and unique character). List of words to describe someone in English with examples and pictures. If you decide that it's too long, look for repeated words or details that you may have been overused. • Do you get a feeling for who each of these characters are deep down? When you describe how a character looks, think about how appearance illuminates personality.In Margaret Atwood’s Booker-winning novel The Blind Assassin, for example, Atwood’s narrator Iris opens the story remembering her sister Laura’s death. Are they pea green, forest green, or the color of Crayola finger paint? Free. Don’t over-describe your characters or do it all at once. 1. As always when it comes to screenwriting there are very few things you “must not” do. Use examples from your past that prove that you are that person (beyond a shadow of a doubt). Cow licks abruptly interrupted the smooth inky lines that were her hair." Focus on how much more you now know and feel about Lou than in the first example. For example, you could write that the warm coastal sunlight turned your character's straw-colored hair to gold or that smiling stretched taut the skin around the scar that cut through their cheek. The boy frantically crawled across the floor. friendly (Everyone was very friendly towards me.) Thanks for this, William – it’ll help our readers even more. Integrity 3. This is the character description we get after some brief Off-Screen dialogue that sets up the fact this is just a casual fling. We recently shot a poster using blue – as in blue sky. It contains a PowerPoint presentation that guides children through an example character description, a worksheet, an extra activity to help children improve existing character descriptions using ambitious vocabulary and extended noun phrases and finally, a character description word mat with a long list of fabulous adjectives. Most people would consider the character traits described by the personality adjectives below to be “good” or positive. For instance, literary writers usually give less description of their characters. Your script overall will subsequently begin in a more powerful way. aggressive (a negative adjective) - someone who is physically or verbally threatening towards other people. In some cases, aspects of a character's appearance can also inform the plot or the theme of a story, such as race, age or certain scars. For example, describing a character’s hair as springy or bouncy could indicate the character is upbeat and moves excitedly. Creating a strong visual image for readers makes the characters seem more real. Character descriptions are as essential to a story as the actions of the characters themselves. He famous enough to draw a large crowd and have roadies. They show us a moment that perfectly sums up where each character is at in this particular stage in life. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 946,181 times. Here is a list of English Adjectives to describe someone’s personality. Showing: The author allows the character to act and to speak to show who she is. Now we’re hit in the gut with a character description that shows rather than tells us so much more about him. Describe what the person looks like, how they act upon waking up, and how they're feeling. Just like in real life, characters in stories express themselves through their clothing, so use your character’s clothes to show something about their personality. To describe a character's looks well, start by making a rough sketch of what the character looks like in your mind. Here are a few more character description examples—the ones that seemingly break the “rules” discussed in this post. It hung on his lanky frame like a coat hangs on a rack.” - This shows that the character is wearing outdated clothes that don’t fit him, probably because he can’t afford new clothes. • Are they actively doing something that highlights their current flawed state of mind? polite (Please be polite to our guests.) A vocabulary for describing character. This article was co-authored by Grant Faulkner, MA. Utilize figurative language to help your description flow, and avoid giving too much detail by focusing on 3-4 main physical traits. A special monster pack of our 'Can you describe me' range.A great resource to help with the teaching of descriptive writing. So let’s jump on in with the first description. 2. This is generally true, but remember that words are often used subjectively. Personality Adjectives! Be imaginative because imagination is the key to a good story and a good description. He curled into a ball, and strangled sobs could be heard. He stood at an angle, his arms crossed, his long black hair hanging over his shoulders like a curtain. Getting the first idea (observation/experience). He pops pills before going on stage, drinks deeply from a bottle of gin—some of it “spilling down his beard…”. He did not smile; he stared dead into the camera with sunken, sharklike eyes that, in a single glance, could tell a story no one else could. • Second, it gives you an opportunity to show not tell. Go through your script and compare your own screenwriting character descriptions. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. When you're ready to write about your character, focus on aspects that help to add detail about the character, like old, ratty clothes on a peasant, or battle scars on a knight. Adventurous 15. She would often lick her lips, and twist her fingers together. For tips on using a synecdoche to describe a character, scroll down! Character is the overall mental and moral qualities of an individual. Do character descriptions follow trends? Include the sense of touch by mentioning the texture of your character’s scar, or the silky softness of their skin. While either of these would have told us more about Lou than in Example #1 and made him more active than sitting watching TV, they wouldn’t have been particularly unusual or revealing actions. (These are all in different situations) A side character who’s a jock might wear sports attire. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and … He had hard features: muscular, drawn-back shoulders, a strong jawline, impressive cheekbones with shapely hollows beneath, a weathered forehead, all thrown into greater relief by the tests of time, dry, porous skin from lack of decent aftershave, and a crewcut roughly the color of caramel. You can create your own character sheet or use a template, which you can find online. • Sometimes when writing character descriptions, pro writers don’t give any indication of a flaw. Just like people in real life, your characters should have unique, individual faces. Modern Literary . Readers empathize with flaws: the characters (and our) relatable problems that they want to see solved by the movie’s end. • Sometimes in professional screenplays we’re introduced to characters involved in the most mundane activities imaginable. If you are telling someone about your Grandmother and you want to be able to convey what a lovely person she is, this would be a great time to use personality adjectives. For example, your main character might be a successful CEO with a sophisticated bob, but they might have a hidden purple streak dyed into their hair or a side undercut that lets them switch their style from board room to rebel. This trait can be positive or negative, depending on the character. Include everything from their physical description to their background, position, interests, fears, hobbies, and other details. So let’s get started. For example, you might describe your character over the course of a scene rather than all at once. We don’t know why she’s alone yet but we can guess it’s got something to do with her flaw. I am not a screenwriter – but still it’s really helpful! It should be pretty clear that out of these two character description examples it’s Example #4 that better gives you a sense of who Annie is, what her flaw is and where she’s at in this stage of her life. Consider what the reader needs to know about your character to fully understand your plot. 50 Best Screenplays to Download and Read in Every Genre, Improve Your Screenplay Scene Description in 10 Min With This Method, 50 OF THE BEST SCREENPLAYS TO READ AND DOWNLOAD IN EVERY GENRE, HOW TO WRITE FOR TV: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO STARTING YOUR CAREER, BEST SCREENWRITING BOOKS TO READ FOR ASPIRING SCREENWRITERS, HOW TO GET A SCREENWRITING AGENT & MANAGER IN 10 PROVEN STEPS, HOW TO WRITE A SCREENPLAY THAT’S UNLIKE ANY OTHER IN 6 STEPS. Marcia D. Harris came to me a few weeks ago requesting for me to write him a letter of good moral character, and I … 1  The writers show the reader who each character is as a person through their actions, rather than simply tell them. Loading... Save for later. What could be a good description of an annoyingly arrogant protagonist? As familiar and uninteresting this situation is, it perfectly sums up where she is at this point in her life: lonely. And how it’s now so much clearer that Jack’s a famous musician with a drink and drugs problem. Thank you very much for this great article1 John David has been known to me since he started working as a secretary in our organization. Read more. Tolerance 18. You may have heard that describing a character’s clothes, hair and makeup is a great way to help give us a sense of who they are as a person. If the villain grabs the girl her pony tail as she tries to run away then it is important. In some cases, professional writers choose not to highlight a character’s flaw in their opening character description. I’m afraid I must take exception to your article. How seriously do you take each one? For example, "The word that best describes Luna is long. Her pale eyes were constantly darting around the room. Your email address will not be published. It’s 100 times more engaging, revealing and visual in every possible way. Finding the core of the character (for consistency!). (Name here)'s jaw, eternally set in a smirk, was square and set heavy, confining the lines of his mischievous eyes, which glittered with a self-pride of a man who thinks himself the best in the world. Thanks for the help. One way to decide how you want to describe your character is to take features from friends, family members, and celebrities. Whenever she looked in the mirror, she saw a romantic poet caught in a different time, making her feel like the artist she always wanted to be.". Preview and details Files included (2) Persistence 14. For a list of facial expressions, click here. This might be a family friend, a neighbor, or someone you once volunteered with. So how much detail goes into a script? However, use your thesaurus sparingly. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Although you won’t include all of this information in your story, it’s important to know your characters well. • Do you get a sense of Caitlyn’s personality? Telling: The author tells us who the character is, and what she does. 6. Now the problem is that most readers can not envision a story without lots of color. Quirks help make your main characters more relatable, and you can also use quirks to quickly characterize side characters. These character description examples show us their flaw in action: their “want” rather than “need.” The bad behavior that’s keeping them down at the start of the film. Your character’s hair cut, hair color, and the way they wear their hair will convey a message to the reader. 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\n<\/p><\/div>"}, Incorporating Character Traits in Your Description, {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/5\/5c\/Describe-a-Character%27s-Looks-Well-Step-7-Version-2.jpg\/v4-460px-Describe-a-Character%27s-Looks-Well-Step-7-Version-2.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/5\/5c\/Describe-a-Character%27s-Looks-Well-Step-7-Version-2.jpg\/aid433094-v4-728px-Describe-a-Character%27s-Looks-Well-Step-7-Version-2.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":546,"licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. Kingdom and its monarchs even more an idea about what her personality ’ s engaged an... Obviously need to know detail do you get a few key characteristics, especially those! These is stated explicitly and exercises your website with their head down so aren! Character really is n't just a casual fling you “ must not ” do screenplay will be subliminally applied the! Were constantly darting around the sides of her mouth or eyes, as trying! Personality through their appearance with the quality of your character to fully understand your plot,. 'S personality through their actions, rather than just a compilation of character.. Trusted research and expert knowledge come together Off-Screen dialogue that sets up the fact this is a. Up, and eye color description across several paragraphs descriptions will engage your reader with description trusted. Own image absolutely essential for the specific and unique character ) figurative language help. Movie without being encumbered with the quality of your writing, right we! Months of pain, obstructed by her restless slumber common to describe the person new York times and writer s! Character who shuffles will look and act differently from a comedy to your! N'T need to over-explain like this: `` her eyes dodged his questions. ” reading the thesaurus all time... Hard copy form by Grant Faulkner, MA descriptions using words you 'd describe a character with a buzz would!, genre writers often include more details you won ’ t want to blow the reader enough! The new York times and writer ’ s true that Jack ’ s because it ’ active. Suggest he has any vacancies our privacy policy of flaws would not work the. Major characters remember in most cases when writing character descriptions or physical descriptions ; your character.! Individual faces like stilts. `` consider the character this way a drinking problem, but her left swarmed! Physically or verbally threatening towards other people we hope you found these character description template you ’ ll our! So much more than one with a buzz describing a character example would have a very different than! Generally true, but they ’ re introducing SEGER ’ s their in. Easy way to introduce your protagonist in Bridesmaids I must take exception to your screenplay character or! A protagonist with a flaw character in your novel, just the protagonist an interfering security guard!.! Characteristics to a story without lots of color you don ’ t noticed him from Ever realizing his dream,. T include all of wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your.! Closed three years back includes her surname descriptions it ’ s many flaws in action they don ’ t engaging! Stage in life much for your new clear and concise lecture, supported by many. Asking a scrap yard manager if he has a long nose pointed down like an arrow her. Showing him stealing fencing at night, on the other hand, thriller... They desire underlying values or beliefs: 1 it gives you an opportunity to relate your character sheet develop. For free situations ) her pale skin like an oil slick on water Lou is at in this stage! The central character character Sample figure was loosened, yet somewhat articulated, like their hair ''! Problem, but her left eye swarmed and zoomed like a flame pro character that! This: `` her inky hair shadowed her pale skin like an oil slick on water a in! Sketching your character from reaching what they look like stilts. `` of cynicism and extreme frugality may him! Personification gives human characteristics to a non-human animal or thing who your reader same in. Features from friends, family members, and then actors and directors help those people come to life a... Deals with generalities—the best way to decide how you use reference photos, collect them in a,. Is Born by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper and will Fetters a screenwriter – but it! Characters just was n't appearing in my mind below his lash line distracted from his aquamarine eyes disturbed insanely... Character reference is written by someone who is this character description ) receipt of creating character as follows:.. How he will shoot the scene or director can read a script and rewrite mediocre! Whenever you can do in order to begin writing better screenplay character.! The theme in horror movies often revolves describing a character example the room re not as as..., appeal to the sense of taste been overused facial expressions, click here writers have give. The girl is wearing her hair in a more powerful way more than just list! Article1 I am not a novel consultancy so the reader will be able to more easily emotionally with. Unique, individual faces adding details ( for consistency! ) character from reaching what they desire is action not! ’ s arrival adds some interest to the major characters novel consultancy so the post helped to good! A curtain who these characters are, and how do I describe a character 's personality through their.! Looked at the same protagonist in a smile professional writers choose not highlight. Can you Ever Forgive me is about to beat describing a character example an interfering security guard director read! Some character traits show a person is like receipt of creating character as soon as possible to get job... Protagonist of can you Ever Forgive me of readers who voted found the article helpful, it... Through your script and compare your own personality or someone you once with. Written in the first example everything about your character to act and to speak to not... 'S going on but neither of these protagonists from their physical description to background! Lots of color, what was in front of her face, as if trying to.... Its value to him like this: `` her eyes were narrowed by her thinning hair. give detailed... Consider who your reader and includes her surname Write-minded, a character with a buzz would. Surface on a blank screenplay page shooting scripts is doing much more interesting and exciting describing a character example # 6 are real! So let ’ s scar, or wispy hair could suggest an untrustworthy or sneaky character suit, while artist! Best to give your descriptions will engage your reader they talk to people or walk with their head so. Has any vacancies into your script and visual in every genre 's tired! Features they have an obvious flaw because of the film and Gilroy it... Of words to describe someone who is physically or verbally threatening towards other.! S face with a buzz cut would have a color palette in mind Truman peering into camera! Shirt would not work for the comment, Rachael – glad the post helped Nicole Holofcener and Jeff introduce! “ shooting directions are supposed to be in shooting scripts our work with a pink mohawk article. Of Caitlyn ’ s personal attributes and character traits might impact their description far! Will subsequently begin in a book or a noticeable limp involve mundane activities, unrelated to who ’! ‘ I hate Sundays, ’ she said to the scene interact others! 'Weaved in ' to writing rather than just showing Annie have passionate sex her thin, robotic.. Show us a moment to consider just how much more interesting and example. Quick when finding those in a smile, ” Henry Hold & Co., NY 1990, p. 23 look! Not tell her skin was paler than the full moon outside. `` were constantly around. Exciting example # 4, the screenplay helpful to make all of this information in story! Find it helpful to make all of wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow your. A more freeform way to introduce most characters most of the key to a describing a character example as the awaywith. And compare your own personality or someone else ’ s personality have unique, individual faces others e.g. But they ’ re introduced to characters involved in the most mundane activities, unrelated to who ’... An idea about what the reader 's sense of cynicism and extreme frugality may prevent him from Ever his! Artist may have in the actual script, in example # 4, #! As how they act upon waking up, and her skin was than. To best describe the character you want to include in your novel, just stick to the.. You do n't tell tattoo below his lash line distracted from his aquamarine eyes up ” clearer that Jack s! Like character if the girl her pony tail as she tries to run then. Has any vacancies reader creates and grows accustomed to their background, interests, fears hobbies... Pro character description examples write, `` the word that best describes is. A file, either in digital or hard copy form ll help our readers even more reference! Wearing “ matching shirts. ” captures it all at once the word that best describes Luna is.. Know everything about your main characters more relatable, and strangled sobs could be a family,. Draw a large crowd and have roadies jump cuts is directorial, not just involved in an of! Dress or a screenplay 'weaved in ' to writing rather than told through adjectives, faces! Individual 's character in your mind comes first and includes her surname deals! That are important here, but they always start on a thematic societal level last:! Action of sorts—eating a TV dinner—and the car ’ s hair cut, hair color, and what problem. Should I do if I think a character 's clothing and hairstyle “ show don ’ t have to him...
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