Lesson Two: Making a LookA Lesson by
A character's face needs to be vivid enough to give the reader a picture, but not always as vivid as Charles Dickens, depending on how much you want the reader's imagination to take over.
-Lesson Two: Making a Look
A character's looks are almost as important as their name, because you need a face for your beautiful princess to actually prove she's beautiful. Not to mention, you want said character's looks to match who they're supposed to be. No beautiful princess has a scarred face (unless in their culture, scars are considered beautiful, of course), and no hardcore warrior has a baby-soft face (unless he really moisturizes and uses healthy mud masks [insert lol here]). At least, I hope not. A face needs to fit what your character will be doing, so you could actually have a decieving face.
Princess Ashelin of Marlocke was often considered the most beautiful of King Marlocke's daughters, as she had fair, powder-colored skin with only one flaw: a beauty mark below her right eye. Her silken hair fell to her middle back like a waterfall of bluish blackness, and shone like the night sky's stars. Ashelin's sky-blue eyes stood out like the moon on a pitch-black night, but only added to her feminine charm and effortlessly beautiful face.
(And if she's really a kickass dragonrider who covers up a massive claw-scar on her back, no one would expect it because she looks so dainty and girly.)
Colors and shapes are a huge part of appeal. A geeky, thin little nerd would become more intimidating with an eye color (like amber, crimson, or an electric shade) that wasn't common to humans and without a pupil. A Princess like Ashelin would become unsettling with slitted cat eyes of amber. Shape, also meaning length/height/width, could be used to make that geek 6'5" and less of a target for bullies. If Princess Ashelin had short hair, she may seem more intimidating (as short hair is often paired with attitude on girls).
Just a face won't completely define your character. Body shapes, from hourglass to pear to solid rectangle, are often insight to what a character does. Heavy muscle could mean a weight lifter or barbarian. Lean and flexible could mean a gymnast or assassin. Thin could mean starving or an eating disorder. Everything, whether you explain it or not, will give your readers ideas about who the characters were before the story began or before they were introduced. Scars and tattoos, used correctly, will also outline a character's history. Even piercings can give some ideas. Think hard on your characters' looks, and remember that with age or scars, they will change (unless they're immortal or invincible, but that's beside the point).
Sketching or searching for pictures can give you ideas, or you can base looks off of people you know. A visual makes creating and remembering your characters' looks much easier throughout writing.
Added on February 5, 2011
Last Updated on February 5, 2011