When reading a book, do you prefer for your characters to be overly described down to the last detail--hair color, eye color, height, looks, etc.--or do you perfer the description to be more vague?
To be honest, the types of book I tend to read (male talking) are the thriller/action/adventure types, so I would go for the "vague" description unless it is wholly relevant to the plot.
I would suggest, however, that the answer depends very much on the genre of the type of writing to which we are referring. I can certainly understand why in such as romantic fiction, the descriptions are infinitely more important.
Characters need different amounts of description depending on the style of writing and the ability of the author. Sometimes an over elaboration of the details pertaining to a character interrupt the flow of the novel.
Overall, I prefer my characters to be more abstract, only hinted at physically. That way the story becomes more your own personal experience, what you perceive a character's embodiment to be, may not be what someone else sees. That makes the story more personal to you.
If you have the ability to hint at appearances, without actually thoroughly detailing them, then you have a remarkable skill. Sometimes an author can get too hung up on a character's appearance and it can get a little boring.
I think that's where it gets tricky- from a writing standpoint-to describe a charater adequately enough so that the reader sees something similar to what you have envisioned them to be, but not overly detailed so as to not bore the reader.
I have read a lot of action/thriller/suspense myself curious traveller and most descriptors are more on the vague side. I understand what you mean about genre.
Also, I've read books where they gave very little if any detail to appearance of the character through most of the book, causing me to make up my own idea, just to have a more detailed descrip. come later and not match what is in my head.
It also depends on what you want to get from the book. I think if you're trying to create some super-good-looking character then description is more important. If you're just going with a normal character, description is less important.
Also details such as scars may be useful if there's a story relating to it, but generally, I would say that thorough character description is unneccesary and a waste of words. Not to mention paper.
Honestly, the way the character looks physically is not as important to me as the psychology of the character. If the character seems like someone I would LOVE to have a conversation with (even if it's an antagonist and not someone I would like personally)--THAT is what really captures my attention. :-D
I love being able to get lost in a character's mind...
I like a fearless girl with a strong heart and a touch side to her. I love a guy that is funny/humurous and loving. I also love characters that work together to find a common gorund.
I tend to form my own vision of them to be honest, spoils it a bit if its over described as I like to use my imagination.
I like just a little hint here n there and I like the females to be fatter than me too. hahaha
Vague. Definitely vague.
Let me know what's going on inside their head, but not how chiselled and refined their jaw looks or the way the light hits their chest.
I like the details and the background or history of each character it makes for better reading.
I prefer mine fried, mixed in batter and covered in chocolate and sprinkles.
With lots of metaphor,
The advice I've always been given is to establish your character's description in the first few paragraphs. I wouldn't go into detail (unless I was writing a Romance), but I would always try to mention eye and hair colour and give some idea of height. That way, the reader incorporates those facts subconsciously into their mental picture, so it doesn't come as a shock to them if you mention their red hair in chapter 5 and they've been imagining a blonde.
Dick Francis is a master at doing this - read his books and you'll notice his hero is always described early on, even though most of his books are in first person. Every other character gets a couple of sentences of description which paint a good mental picture, without slowing down the narrative.
When I write fiction I rarely I used to add detailed descriptions but I grew out of that. I now would rather the characters be developed over time in the story and in the imaginaton of the reader.
I like my characters to be like James Bond or Jack Reacher what can I say cept I think they're jus dreamy, lol
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