I was the one who asked for this topic to be included in our weekly topics because I have a hard time describing my characters’ physical appearance. It’s similar to my difficulty in describing places/surroundings.
I have to admit that, even as a writer, I am dreadfully unobservant, so I really admire Jennifer’s eye for detail which she showed us yesterday. I don’t have a good visual memory – unlike a friend of mine who, I think, can picture every hotel (and hotel bar!) we’ve ever been to in our travels together. My strength, on the other hand, is an aural memory – I can remember conversations or information (and total trivia too) and I can hear accents and different vocal tones.
So I have to make a very conscious effort to study scenes and people, but even then I can have problems. I tried a mental exercise yesterday evening when we went to a bar for a drink after seeing the latest Martin Sheen film (had to get that snippet of information in, LOL!). But I still ran into difficulties – was that girl’s hair fair, blonde, flaxen or platinum? Was that guy’s face oval or square-jawed, or a mixture of both? See what I mean?
Maybe I CAN picture some things, but most times I have great difficulty actually describing them. I have no problem with dialogue, I struggle with description.
Going back to Francine’s blog on this topic, I do tend to describe the hero through the heroine’s eyes and vice-versa. Occasionally I might bring something in through action, but not often. I’ll have to remember that in future and try to do it.
But here, for your perusal, are a couple of my (fairly inadequate!) efforts at description. Feel free to tear them apart!
He had his back to her, but the outline of his broad shoulders in a pale blue polo-shirt gave an impression of hidden strength. His slim waist and hips in well-fitting dark blue jeans only added to the impact of his tall figure. His thumbs were looped casually into his back pockets and Jess’s eyes rested momentarily on his firm hands and long slender fingers. A pianist’s hands, she thought, then let her glance travel up his tanned arms to the back of his head. His dark hair wasn’t exactly curly, more like a mass of waves that were layered casually into the nape of his neck, which somehow emphasized the ruggedness of the rest of his very masculine body.(From ‘His Leading Lady’, chapter 1)
He quickened his pace, annoyed that he’d allowed the memories to breach the emotional wall he’d built around himself. But he couldn’t stop thinking about her. Not the teenage Abbey, but the Abbey he’d just met again. She was even more stunningly attractive now than she’d been ten years earlier, with her heart-shaped face, sparkling green eyes and seductive mouth. Her long dark hair swung when she turned, her shoulders moved in a tantalising way as she walked, and her trim hips swayed sexily as she went into the shop.
(From ‘Fragrance of Violets’. chapter 2)