What’s in a Face? What Emperors Really Looked Like

Nicholas C. Rossis

As readers of, well, pretty much any of my books will know, I’m not big on descriptions. I favor a swift pace and paint images with broad strokes. This extends even to my characters’ names: I eschew names unless they’re absolutely necessary. So, my books have a lot of ranks (“the sergeant walked into the room”) and relations (“…his mother said”) and precious few names. This is a conscious choice, made for a number of reasons.

Any name will inevitably remind you of someone. And, as the joke goes, you don’t know how many people you dislike until it’s time to name your baby. So, my naming a character Tom, Dick or Harry will bring to the reader’s mind their own experiences with Toms, Dicks, and Harrys. To me, this will taint the reading experience.

Also, lengthy descriptions tend to bore me. I prefer finding out what happened next rather than…

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