Subject: It's nice to know a bit, though.
Posted on: 2021-01-14 19:53:21 UTC

I agree with everything hS said, except that I'd advocate a best practice of giving your audience some idea of what your protagonists look like in their first appearance, while keeping it sensible for the POV and narrative voice you're using. If there's an observing character who would think "they remind me of a porcelain doll," that's fine. It's a simple description that gives a lot of information in just a few words, which can be very effective. But, like hS says, the words you choose and how you use them do imply things about the observer as much as or more than the observed, so be careful how you frame your description—especially since connotations may vary. Your observer may like dolls, but some people find them really creepy.

Also, if a more distant narrator is being extra-poetic about a particular character, that might very well raise Suvian flags for me.

But yeah, describing a character certainly shouldn't be immediate if there are more important things for the audience to be paying attention to, such as the all-important establishment of "where are we, what's happening, and why should I care?" Your picture can be built up gradually, as the pieces become relevant. It doesn't take much at all to give people an idea. It can be as simple as choosing your nouns well and/or slipping in an adjective now and then while describing an action the character is doing.

It's really very much more about the how and why than the what.

~Neshomeh's two cents.

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