Lesson #1b: LooksA Lesson by Kyari Hasutto
What a character looks like is important, and often has to do with the previous section. Originality in this area does not mean giving everybody in your story weird hair colors, or unusual eye shapes. It means having a character whose appearance becomes part of their character, and one that’s easily identifiable. What character has jet-black hair, bottle-green eyes, glasses, and a scar on his forehead? (How many clues did you need to get that one?) Truly, it’s not the original looks, it’s the way that the looks fit into the story. However, there are some tropes you can avoid. For example, the prettiest girl doesn’t have to have blond hair, Re: Rosalie. Evil guys don’t have to be evil looking. I mean, I have a debate coach that looks like he would be some evil overlord or something, but he’s actually a nice guy. Then I know people who look like people I’d want to be friends with, and they turn out to be jerks.
Another issue is what clothes they wear. You can make a lot of assumptions about people by what they wear. I was bored last winter, and decided to look at people’s shoes. I compared the shoes to the people who were wearing them and grouped them into personality types, all based on their shoes, and the fact that I knew most of the people I was looking at. (Winter is best, since girls only really wear flip-flops at school when it starts getting warm.) If someone wears all black, what assumptions do you automatically make? You may not be the sort to jump to conclusions, but the audience will be. Explaining what clothes a character wears will show their personality sometimes better than a description would. Even then, you can prove your audiences wrong if you then show your character doing an action that contrasts the originally perceived notion.
Your assignment for this lesson is to go people watching. Make assumptions. Come up with stories for someone. Look at shoes, look at shirts. Just people watch.
Added on September 2, 2010
Last Updated on September 2, 2010
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