Tyler Has Words is the blog of Tyler Patrick Wood, a writer/musician from Texas. You'll get free book excerpts twice a week. On the other days, you'll get words. If you would like an original take on everything by an expert on nothing, this might be a cool place to hang out.

About Looks and Looking

About Looks and Looking

Post 322:

            In all the known Universe, there’s no stranger being than a human. Well? Go on and name one.

            Well, I’ll make my argument in one sentence. We’re the strangest of the strange because we have the ability to recognize it.

            Game. Set. Etc. and so forth.

            So without even talking about appearance, I think we’re the weirdest lot in God’s creation.

            Okay, so what...

            I was diving into a few things I’m working on and, as always, I have to make tons of decisions on how I describe the characters.

            I have a policy on this, and it’s totally and completely subjective. But probably and completely right.

            Approach your descriptions like you would in real life. If there’s nothing particularly interesting about someone’s appearance, hopefully they have something on the personality spectrum that rings some bells and whistles. If you have neither, you don’t have much of a character.

            On the other hand, you might have a man or woman in the story that is so beautiful or so hideous that there’s no other way to put it. When you do this you’re being shallow toward the character, but that should be intentional. You can describe shallow characters with great depth, but it takes a lot of skill and more time than most people are going to give you.

            I like minimalist descriptions. If a guy is as skinny as a rail, just say he’s a rail. I’m going to be able to fill in the rest with my imagination. Slowly build your descriptions as well; don’t just throw it all out there in one sweeping forty-five page paragraph.


            If I wanted all-out aesthetics, I’d look at a painting.

            Yes. There are exceptions. Some writers are fantastic describers. Unless you yourself are one, keep working and accept that people are going to be doing a bit of the yawn.

            People are strange, and all of us in a different way. Keep that in mind and you can’t go wrong. Cheers and see you after.

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About The Divorcer

About Photographs and Memories

About Photographs and Memories