The Description Weavers

Deborah Grant-Dudley

The delicate art of describing physical appearance

Image of a wooden mannequin.
Photo by Totoo G on

To describe or not to describe

How much description to include is always a tricky decision for authors. Too much is tedious, not enough makes it difficult to imagine. There is a particularly fine line when it comes to a character’s physical appearance.

Some authors don’t describe their characters at all, preferring the reader to imagine them in their own way. As a reader, I find this technique challenging. Until I have a good idea of a character’s personality, I can’t imagine their appearance, unless it’s been described.

Other authors focus on particular features and mention them multiple times. This can backfire too. One of my favourite characters was described at the start of book one of a long series. I soon forgot that description and imagined him my own way. Which didn’t make any difference to…

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