#FirstDraft60 Day 10: Your Characters’ Physical Descriptions #amwriting #nanoprep #nanowrimo
Sorry this post is so late—I’ve been fighting a migraine all day, and it was all I could do to get through what had to be done for my day job before seeking refuge in bed for a couple of hours. Today we’re going to get into what is, to me, one of the most fun parts of prep work—figuring out what our characters look like!
Part 1: Casting Your Characters
There is absolutely no point whatsoever in me repeating what I’ve posted before about casting your characters, so here are the links to the series:
Be Your Own Casting Director—Choosing and Using Real World Templates (RWTs) to Help with Character Development
Character Development for Visually Oriented Writers; or, Be Your Own Casting Director
Be Your Own Casting Director: 4 Methods of Character Casting
Be Your Own Casting Director: Creating a “Casting Book”
Be Your Own Casting Director: Using Real World Templates in Character Development
Be Your Own Casting Director: Isn’t This All Just a Big Waste of Time?
I use a combination of pinning images of the Real World Templates to my story board on Pinterest, as well as placing reference images on the characters’ pages in my story bible . . . and I also usually set up a PowerPoint into which I save images of the characters—these are typically screen shots of the actors with certain expressions or body language that evoke ideas for my characters’ development or even for certain scenes. Examples of these can be found in the series posts above.
For my current story, here are the Real World Templates for my main characters.
Part 2: Describing Your Characters
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to put the full description of each of your main (POV) characters into your story bible, as well as any details you might know about your secondary characters. If you do already have some of this, go back and make sure you have all of it—and see if there are ways in which you can make your characters’ looks more unique.
Create a page/folder/section for each character so that the info isn’t running together and so that they’re easier to find.
Here’s what this part can include for each main/POV character:
Date of Birth:
Body type: (stocky, muscular, athletic, full-figured, slender, emaciated, etc.)—from the character’s viewpoint and in others’ opinions, if that’s important
Repetitive/habitual physical quirks: (i.e., biting fingernails, grinds teeth, pops knuckles, rolls neck when stressed, leg bounces/can’t sit still, etc.)
Include image(s) of the Real World Template for the character if you have them. If not, there’s no time like the present to cast your characters.
Obviously, because I’m running so far behind with this post today, I haven’t had a chance to get started yet, though I do have a little bit of this in mind because I have been working on this story idea for a while. It’s just a matter of writing it all down in this format.
Assignment: Add your characters’ physical description (using the above “chart” or something of your own making) to your Story Bible. Cast your characters, if desired.
What did you learn about your character(s)’ physical appearance that you didn’t know before this exercise?
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