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A Character Description Writing Exercise

Updated on November 13, 2013

How Do You like This One?

“She seemed surprised for just a moment and then she smiled. Bright eyes, dark hair cut long and tied back, wooden burette that held it up on one side; kind of a tilted smile – made her look perpetually curious about something unspoken. Catherine Sheridan looked a little like Cybil Shepherd in Bogdanovich’s Picture Show movie, but brunette, her features a little more sculpted, a little more aquiline. When she smiled at me it was like being kicked sideways into something beautiful.”

This wonderful character description is from “A Simple Act of Violence” by R.J. Ellory.

I have no idea how many books I have read in my sixty-five years. Easily thousands, and within those thousands, tens of thousands of character descriptions; if I were pressed to remember I might recall twenty-five of those character descriptions.

Twenty-five out of tens of thousands; if I am a pessimist I would say that those numbers are horrible. If I am an optimist I would say what a remarkable job those twenty-five authors did in creating a character so dynamic that I remembered him/her from the thousands I have read.

I love the character description above. It is not the best I have read by far, but it is distinctive and done well enough that I could form a mental picture of the character. His reference to Cybil Shepherd was perfect, and his mention of her smile kicking him sideways was nicely stated.

That is the type of character description I hope for; I want to create a character that seems real and is definitely memorable.

So how do we do this? There are suggestions to be sure, but when we get right down to it, the writer must hitch up their belt and just do it. Remember that we all have five senses, so using those senses when describing your characters is helpful. The more we can help the reader gain a mental picture the better. Besides the senses, though, we want the reader to gain an appreciation for the character of the person.

What follows, then, are several pictures of real people. What you are going to do, if you are feeling adventurous, is write a character description of those people for practice. The pictures will be your reference material; I want you to use them to help you paint a picture of words for someone not looking at the picture. I have added my thoughts as well to help you along. Got it? Great! Let’s begin.

The lady in blue
The lady in blue | Source

How About This Beauty?

I found this lady at a local street fair in our neighborhood. I was instantly drawn to her because of her smile. That smile tells me that this is a person I would like to meet and know as a friend. She appears to be a very friendly and kind human being. There is compassion in that face. There is wisdom in that face. This is not a person who spends wasted moments worrying and fretting; rather she radiates a positive energy that I find very refreshing.

How about you? What do you see in this woman and how would you describe her?

The free spirit
The free spirit | Source

Very practical points

And Then We Have This Free Spirit

One look at this picture and I am instantly struck with a feeling of devil-may-care. This person is telling the world that she is comfortable with who she is and she is going to dress any old way she sees fit. However, the other thing I noticed, or perhaps surmised, is that there is no happiness in this face. There is a definite contrast in messages being sent here. The clothes and appearance say fun-loving, but I do not see fun-loving in her countenance.

I would find it difficult to get a handle on this person because of the mixed messages I am receiving from her, and perhaps that is the angle I would approach when writing a description of her. This is a complicated woman who just might be difficult to know on anything but a surface level.

Aloof? Bored? Anti-social?
Aloof? Bored? Anti-social? | Source

ALOOFNESS?

Beautiful indeed but so much more in this young lady; her physical characteristics would be easy to describe in words, but there is depth in this person that would take some hard work to describe.

Is she aloof? Is she somber? Is she simply a serious person with serious thoughts on her mind? I actually spoke to her and found her to be very welcoming and friendly, but considering the fact that she was manning a booth at a public fair, her outward appearance did not seem welcoming. Is that intentional or simply a reflection of her inner self? In capturing her in words I would have to capture that inner essence to do her full justice.

My son
My son | Source

Good tips: I want to know how she wrote on the board backwards.

My Son in All His Glory

This picture was taken of my son about eight years ago. He was twenty-one at the time. What do you see? I can tell you that he is 6’2” tall and weighed about 270 in this picture, but that is just a brief snapshot of his physical stature. Who is he as a person? Can you tell from his expression and facial features?

Perhaps I am projecting because I know him so well, but to me there is a kindness in his face, and his smile is welcoming. Do you see it? Both are true in describing my son. What else do you see?

Can you feel her love of nature?
Can you feel her love of nature? | Source

My Favorite Picture of All-time

Yes, this is the love of my life, Bev, and I took this picture about four years ago up on Mt. Rainier. Now, as you will notice, you can see very little of Bev’s features in this picture, but I think you can still gain an appreciation for who she is as a human being.

What do you see? Notice how she embraces the vista before her. She is perfectly at home in the wilderness. The wilder the better for Bev; the more natural the better. This is a woman who loves life and who makes life seem more colorful when she is in the scene. Do you see that from this picture?

Was this exercise helpful?

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So What Am I Trying to Tell You?

It is no secret that I believe writing to be a craft. I treat writing with the respect it is due. I have learned from the greats who came before me, and I try to apply the same level of dedication to my writing that Hemingway did to his.

Describing characters should not be a throw-away activity for a writer, and it is certainly more than a simple physical description. When writing character descriptions, the writer should strive to capture the heart and soul of the characters. It is in that capturing that the writer opens his doors and invites the reader into his literary home for a cup of tea and an enjoyable read. If we, as writers, can do that….if we can make our characters come alive and seem real….if we can give a sense of the type of persons that they are….then we will have done our jobs as writers.

Now grab your cameras and get out there and take some random shots of interesting people. File them on your computer and maybe take some notes of your impressions. You never know when you are going to need a fascinating character to complete your next short story or novel.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Fantastic Gail, and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. Thank you!

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

      Happy Thanksgiving, Bill! This is a great idea. I'm going to give it a try.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is, Deb; takes a load off of my imagination. :) Happy Thanksgiving and thank you!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      A great idea to photograph real people to include in one's stories. I usually create one from memory, but this is a lot easier.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Monis! I hope this helps you in some way my friend. Have a great Thursday.

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 3 years ago

      I have to agree with kidscrafts her! Fantastic post, interesting approach to writing!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dianna! Bev is in love with all things, and nature is certainly one of them.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      What a fun article and so very useful! I love the photos you pictured and can feel the words come to mind as I view them. Great photo of Bev, and you can tell she is a nature loving woman.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish....LOL...I love your take on the woman in blue. Priceless my friend; thank you for the laugh.

      Have a great weekend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I like your suggestion here. I will take my camera and go people watch this weekend. I'm sure it will prove fruitful. Thanks for sharing the colorful examples. I think the overdressed lady in the blue just cracked a joke at the old ladies' expense, as they are handling baggies related to a composting toilet. She is the demonstrator but they are still processing what they are seeing and what she said.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, what good is knowledge if we don't share it? I'm very happy to pass this stuff along. Thank you!

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

      Great hub Bill!!

      I found it very useful and i have to thank you for sharing your knowledge in such subjects with us

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, I don't know how I do it. LOL Honestly, I think this all stored up inside of me over the years and now it is just bursting out. I'm glad you find my writing interesting and I thank you.

      bill

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      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Inspiring as usual, a new angle every day, how do you do it! I have just spent half an hour reading your blog, another fountain of knowledge help and advice.

      voted up and all.

      Graham.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wiccan, you pretty much summarized my son. He is a good man, fun to be with, and as trustworthy as the day is long. Yes, I am proud of him. :) Thank you!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Love these ideas. Your son does look like a sweet guy, he's got such a sincere smile. Do I also detect a bit of a mischievous twinkle in the eyes? He strikes me as someone with a good-natured sense of humor who's fun to be around. Great hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure as always vkwok

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I always trust you drbj! You have never steered me wrong yet.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for more great advice!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      That would NEVER be you, Bill! Trust me. Thanks for laughing. You're welcome!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is great and it is hard, Ann; I like crowded places where people are not aware of one more camera in the crowd. I"m glad you enjoy it to; makes me feel a little less strange. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Liz and it's good to see you again. I think people are fascinating. For many years now I have made up a little game for myself where I imagine things about the random people I see.....I guess I've always been a writer. :)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Isn't it great to catch a photo of an interesting face?! I love to catch people off guard but it's quite difficult. More excellent advice for every writer here and a great practical exercise. Enjoy the weekend! Ann

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      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This was a truly enjoyable hub, Bill. I loved the pictures and the exercises of describing them that went along with them. Pictures are definitely worth 1000 words. One day when I was photographing my dog at the park, I did get some snapshots of people and while I have no clue who they are, they are some of my favorite pictures. The colorful clothes or the fisherman's outfit- all tell a story of their own. Thanks for posting!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Marry, the green shirt failed miserable. Thank you for the laugh my friend; I'm glad you found this useful.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      It seems every time I read one of your hubs, the first button I push is 'awesome'. The photo of Bev is truly priceless and should be enlarged, framed and hung on a wall.

      This hub is so filled with ideas. Let's take your beauty in the hat. She is not only a free spirit but loves animals. She walks briskly to exercise her best friend. Hiding her dark, unruly hair under her hat, her face shows the worry she feels about her state of affairs. She knows her maroon coat doesn't match her red pants but hopes the green shirt pulls it together....

      Thanks for the education and the fun.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, I am laughing out loud, all by myself in my studio. You are too funny! That could be me on that soapbox and nobody listening. Sigh, why do I take things so personally? LOL Thank you so much for the laugh.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      OK, Bill, I'll give this a shot. See the photo labeled 'The Free Spirit.' See the fellow in the yellow tshirt and gray cap? He's standing on something to give him more height. He is addressing the crowd in a loud voice ... but no one is in front of him - there is no crowd. He is a former informational commercial host who forgot to take his daily meds. He keeps announcing, 'But wait, there's more; but wait, there's more! 'The woman in the dark blue dress and brown boots approaching him is calling Security on her cellphone to come check him out.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pearl! So nice to see you again my friend. Have a great day with your feathered friends.

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      Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, excellent lesson as always. I tend to overlook people in general because I am so caught up in the natural world and all it has to offer. So this is a good exercise for me. Thank you for sharing, my friend ;) Pearl

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, I love that you find this helpful and interesting. I hope you get something out of it that you can use.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kim, what a lovely message for me to wake up to. Thank you so much. Your loyalty and friendship mean a great deal to me.

      Blessings to you and yours

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad Dora! I hope it helps you. Blessings to you my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE; I'm just trying to be the best I can be, and I want others to be the same.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Denise! Bev is exactly as that photo describes. I know you would love her if you met her. Everyone does.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. Good luck with the exercises.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much Faith. You use the same technique that Sheila and I do and it is an effective one. Thanks for your thoughts and the kind words.

      blessings and love

      bill

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub, taking an picture of a person and going on to describe that person is a great exercise. This will bring characters to life and we can use the characters in a story. Never thought of this at all. Useful, interesting and informative hub. Voted up.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill,

      As a bona fide people watcher, I really enjoyed this piece. Thanks for reminding me that we can find some of our best characters, and character descriptions by just opening our eyes and looking at what we see. Plus, I want you to know just how much I appreciate you as a friend and ongoing supporter. The creative process can be challenging. I feel so very lucky that there are those such as yourself who recognize that and are willing to say encouraging words. Thank you for being you.

      Many Blessings to you,

      Kim

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      "Capture the heart and soul of the characters." Thank you for the lesson in how to do this. This exercise with the photographs is very effective.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A Character Description Writing Exercise, a well thought of hub and you are so good at what you do. Voted up and useful,

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill, this is a wonderful hub explaining the practice of describing characters. I absolutely love the photo of Bev and your explanation. Voted UP/U / I This hub will certainly be helpful to so many writers. Shared...

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This hub is very interesting as well as useful, Bill. I enjoyed looking at the photos and then reading your character descriptions. I'll try your technique!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Crystal. I'm a lucky man for sure.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

      I love this lesson in character descriptions. And I agree, that photo of Bev is absolutely gorgeous!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      What a clever write here and even more so exercise to try out. I have always been a people watcher, just never thought to take pictures. My characters are actually taken from real people I know, but I combine different personalities all into one very interesting character. We all know certain people who we have a certain reaction to when we see them or interact with them, and those thoughts stick in my mind when developing a character.

      Love your lesson here for the day! Clever and unique, like you!

      Yes, the photo of Bev is phenomenal!

      Up and more and sharing

      Blessings to you and yours,

      Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby! Teaching has always been my first love.....Bev took it's place. :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      You are such a good teacher. It is the most difficult task for me, describing a character. I am new at this story telling process and your tips are very welcome. Thank you...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      She is indeed, Anna! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, I have said often that if I lived in another country and had to learn English I would be a mute. LOL It is a very difficult language. We keep changing the rules. :)

      blessings always my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nell! I do love that shot of Bev. That perfectly describes her as a person.

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      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      Very cool hub. Your Bev looks very spiritual and a beautiful soul. Great photograph.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      I really enjoyed this one billy, it showed me the things I keep forgetting when trying to describe someone, and yes that photo of Bev says it all, its wonderful!

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Thank you Bill.

      I hope so too… "well", quite complex at the time : either a missing piece of "my puzzle" would require more time to fit in, or a therapeutic manipulation of a puzzle itself need to be done before brought into completeness…

      Oh, this English language ," You never miss the water till the WELL runs dry… " (well, when 'well ' is properly understood? )

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nadine, I love it! You must be a writer. :) Well done and thanks for delaying your bedtime to do my little exercise.

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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi Billy I was about to shut down when I saw that you had written a new hub. Nice photos of your family. I closed my eyes and let my finders to the talking...

      The monthly market was almost over when I heard her musical voice. My heart skipped a beat for memories long past. Like then, she always favored wearing bright blue flowing dresses. Time had not changed her. Still a brunette with a smile that would sheer anyone up. Jolly, warm and always complimenting somebody, even if it was just making small talk. Nothing would ever get her down.

      Now it’s really bedtime for me, but thanks for that exercise.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting approach, Sheila. Thanks for sharing that. The more we share our approaches the more help we give each other.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...MizB, I did indeed get a great laugh. Wonderful description of that scene. Thank you so much for a well-needed laugh this afternoon.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      Bill, my first impression of the lady in your “Free Spirit” photo is that of a homeless woman wandering through a flea market. (Maybe I see too many homeless women wandering through our Rivermarket district.)

      I don’t get the same impression of the “aloof lady.” Here’s my scenario about the photo:

      The large red-striped tablecloth dominated the scene. A woman, partially obliterated by the shadows, stood with her hand on the table almost as if to say “guess which cup the nut is under and win $5.00.” Stage right of the oppressive tablecloth sat a lovely young brunette smiling at a scene in the distance. Attracted by the Hermione Granger hair, Jim Bob headed straight for her.

      See, I’m no good at describing reality. Anyway, I hoped to give you a laugh. P.S. Love the photos of your family.

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      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      Thanks for the pictures to use as practice exercises. Normally, I don't get to detailed with the physical descriptions of my characters. Is it laziness? I believe I'm giving the reader a chance to place any person they know, including themselves, into the major roles. When it comes to personality and facial expressions, I write a lot more details so people will if the character is joking, being sarcastic, etc when the words may not be enough to portray that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, I actually do the same thing. My characters are composites of various people I have known during my lifetime. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      When I create characters for my story, I usually take inference from the real life people. I don't portray one individual but create a character based on the features and temperament of many people.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Lizzie, thanks for the visit...I love what your middle school teacher said...that's a great exercise.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Melissa and good luck with that nano thing. Any writing is good writing and I'm excited for you.

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      LaThing 3 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Very interesting! I have never done a character description except when I was in school, but this looks like fun! I remember one of my middle school teacher once told us to write down how we feel about strangers that we see around us...... And then use them for describing your character in a story.....

      Yeah, and your son looks like he is at peace with his surrounding !

      Wonderful read! Thanks, Billy. Always learning from you :)

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      Melissa Propp 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Bill, this is really an excellent article. As I had mentioned previously, I'm attempting the NanoWrimo challenge (never gonna make 50k, but the point was just to actually START writing) and after reading your hub I realized that my description of the main character is crap! I need to find a way to describe her so that others see her as clearly as I see her in my own mind.....And I love the example you used, that was really good!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, they are challenges for sure. I usually save my character developments until after my first draft. By then I know my characters well enough and can do the job.

    • Brian Prickril profile image

      Brian Prickril 3 years ago from Savannah, GA

      Great topic, Bill. It is never the first thing I think about when creating a new work of fiction. But eventually I arrive at that point of description and it's like...uh...how do I do this without overkill, yet still drive the point home? I love those challenges.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, that is exactly what she was doing in that shot...feeling the warmth of the sun with her eyes closed. She is a free spirit and I love her for it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mary and you named some problems that most writers have when describing characters. It is not as easy as one would think.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...I have seen the same thing, Carol,and quite frankly I resent it. LOL Thanks for the laugh. I think I'll hobble over to the kitchen and get a snack now.

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I love the lady in blue. She's wearing the kind of dress I used to wear before I gained weight. It was very expressive of my free-spirit-don't-bind-me attitude.

      This picture of Bev is also my favorite. I've written you in the past of what I imagine her face to be doing. Her eyes are closed, face lifted to the sun, inhaling the wonderful scents of the breeze and absorbing the energy of nature.

      I'll have to give this exercise a shot. I've taken you up on your previous writing challenges. Why stop now?

    • Mary McShane profile image

      Mary McShane 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

      Character description is tough for me. Either I'm too wordy or not enough descriptive words. I hesitate to keep naming a well known person to have readers identify the character with because I can get real comfortable doing that and lose the descriptive skill altogether. Good hub with lots of lessons to practice. Voted thumbs up, useful, and interesting :)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      To me the character description is where it is at. And it has to be realistic..not all beauty and perfect build etc..however we do like reading about attractive people. One of my pet peeves is that authors when writing about people in their 60s make them sound so old.. hunched over, gray hair, tired and etc....

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, I would love to hear more about that technique.....gee, why don't you write an article about it???? Huh??? Please!!!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I am humbled...thank you and have a great day my friend.

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      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I took both photography and illustration classes, and in each of them we were assigned a self-portrait project. In neither one were we allowed to simply take photos or draw ourselves--we had to show our character (e.g., interests, personalities) through our work. A great exercise in self-discovery, that's for sure. Using the same techniques you describe here, you could learn a lot about your characters before you even know them!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I think you almost wrote what I would write after reading this ""I have learned from the greats who came before me, and I try to apply the same level of dedication to my writing that"" Bill Holland would.

      Really great hub. Mucho Thanx

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Joelle....follow your passion and every single day will be a walk in the park, and how cool would that be?

      Wishing you an extraordinary day my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello Michael my friend.!

      I love that quote by Lincoln and oh so true. Thank you for sharing it.

      I hope you are well; it is always good to hear from you.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      cygnetbrown, thank you for sharing your method. I love hearing about other writers and what they do.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I find your approach very interesting! I never thought of taking pictures of people as possible characters for writing a book probably because I don't think I will write books with people. I would use animals as an inspiration .... but that's just me. But I like what your interpretation of the different pictures and I especially like the contradiction between the way the lady is dressed and the way that she doesn't show a lot in her face. On the other hand, a picture is just a moment, a fraction of second and she was may be deep is some thoughts?

      We each have our passion and mine is to take pictures of the hands of children making art :-)

      Another great hub, Bill! Thank you for making me think once more early in the day!

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Hello, the great friend.

      " character is like a tree, and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. " ABRAHAM Lincoln.

      Amen brother. The character are " we " the real person. - Spiritual being which we carry along with us and present before even opening mouth..

      Voted awesome and beautiful.

      Have a blessed day.

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      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      I have been doing something similar except instead of using photographs that I take myself, I either get photos that my husband has taken, or I use photos and paintings online to help me create my character descriptions. It great to see how each of us adapts advice from other writer friends to our own situations. Thanks, again, Bill for another great hub!

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      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I love taking pictures of random people and then trying to guess about their lives and personality....imagination my friend is a key part of fiction.

      Thank you as always and have a wonderful day.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Seriously wonderful exercise. So simple, yet right to the point. Bill the pictures of our family are the ones that we can't help, but gravitate towards, but taking pictures of people out in own's town does so tell a story and love that you pointed that out here. Thanks and here is to a great wednesday now!