101 – Character Description

The Mythcreant Podcast

The protagonist appeared in the doorway, dressed in a magnificent golden helm and with cerulean eyes shining fiercely. If something about that sounds a little cheesy to you, then you’ll be happy to hear that we’re spending this episode talking about character descriptions. Joined again by special guest David, we discuss how much description is too much, too little, and just right. We look at the pros and cons of waiting to describe aspects of a character, and what happens when you focus on one aspect to the exclusion of others. Plus Oren feels silly that he doesn’t know what cerulean is.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

Wheel of Time


Lord of the Rings

The Water Tribe from Avatar: The Last Airbender

Fire Logic


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  1. Rhiannon

    Thanks, this was really interesting. I’m working on a novel where the male romantic lead doesn’t get a physical description until the point, about a third of the way through, where the female romantic lead first notices that he’s attractive. He’s an active character from the beginning but he’s her employee and she takes him for granted, so it seemed that it would be odd to draw attention to the fact that he’s handsome while she’s interacting with him in a completely platonic way. I’ve scattered a few little facts to describe him physically before that point (tall, under 30, strong) but the reader will realise that the character is intended to be attractive because a character becomes attracted to him, rather than me just telling them.

  2. Circe

    For instance, you could say a girl had fiery red hair, a widow’s peak, big, dreamy hazel eyes, a magnificent complexion white as snow, a small nose, and pillowy cheeks, OR you sum it all up by saying she looked like a barn owl.

    • A Perspiring Writer

      Something like that sounds like it would work in a more comedic story (like having that first bit of description as the setup, and the next bit as the punchline). You could even follow it up by noting how, later in the scene, she ‘blinked owlishly.’

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