Improving My Writing

Character Details Exercise

I LOVE creating characters! Seeing how they behave, how they interact, what they look like – it’s great! But sometimes we get hung up on the “grocery list”. You know, that list we tend towards: hair and eye color, height, skin color, clothes. Sometimes we leave out the quirks and details that make a character human. So when I found Victoria Griffin’s Twitter post this evening, I thought, “This sounds fun! I should share it on my blog!” So here we are. This exercise makes us think about what details readers would use to help visualize our appearance and behavior if we were characters.

If I were a character:

  • The big toe on my left foot clicks when I walk.
  • The long scars across my stomach are from when I was 12 and my cat Cozmo got scared during a thunder storm and jumped out of my arms.
  • Western boots are my favorite footwear.
  • I was born with brown eyes, but they’ve turned green around the edges as I’ve gotten older.
  • I bite my nails, but not because of nerves, it’s just something I do.
  • I sleep on my right side to fall asleep at night, but I sleep on my left for naps.
  • I only own 3 items of pink clothing; I don’t usually like pink.
  • My hair is red on top and blonde underneath.
  • I am 6 feet tall and considered the short member of the family.
  • If I’m in the mall too long I get a headache from the weird lighting.
  • I am right-handed.
  • My ears plug up when a storm is coming.

So there’s 12 details that make me, me! Think about how these details reveal parts of my life; that’s how we should show our characters. What would you mention if YOU were a character? Tag any writing buddies who would enjoy this exercise and see what they say!

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