40 Days of 3 Questions – Day 29

Welcome to 40 Days of 3 Questions!

For the next few weeks, meet here every morning with a notebook or document to answer three questions about writing, about your status quo as a writer, or about the writing life. You can answer briefly and go about your day, or you can use this as a warm up exercise before your regular writing schedule. Whatever works for you, works for me.

Day 29 Questions:

  1. How much physical descriptions of characters do you generally include?
  2. As a reader, do you like characters to be described head to toe, the basics, or mostly left for you to imagine?
  3. In your current project, what actor(s) do you imagine in the role(s) of your primary characters?

You may post answers in comments or keep your thoughts private–your choice!

And here is today’s pretty picture:

jane-ausen-finger-puppet.gif

Jane Austen finger puppet.

 

7 thoughts on “40 Days of 3 Questions – Day 29

  1. I like to use one or two details, something the POV character would notice or something striking or unique to jog the reader’s memory of who that guy is when he shows up chapters later. And that’s what I like as a reader too. Too much description and I skim on past. As for what actors would play my characters, my fan group members had this discussion recently when a film producer expressed an interest in adapting my books for TV (don’t hold your breath, folks). I see Pete as a younger Mark Harmon, and we couldn’t reach a consensus of who would play him now. Originally, I pictured Zoe as Jenna Elfman from her Dharma and Greg days, but now I really think Beth Riesgraf would be perfect.

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  2. 1.) How much physical descriptions of characters do you generally include? Only a few basic features like tall, short curly black hair.
    2.) As a reader, do you like characters to be described head to toe, the basics, or mostly left for you to imagine? As a reader, I want very little description. My imagination creates an image based on the actions / reactions.
    3.) In your current project, what actor(s) do you imagine in the role(s) of your primary characters? This is one of those questions I dread. I have no idea. In my head, they’re themselves.

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  3. Love the Jane puppet!! I give only the briefest of physical descriptions in my stories. I want my reader to construct their own vision. That is exactly the way I like to read characters also. I have avoided going to see some movies that were based on books just for this very reason. One good example was One For The Money. Stephanie Plum was totally miscast!
    In my current work, I have cast Helen Hunt and Dave Grohl (making his novel debut), of course, I find a part for him in all my work.

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  4. How much physical descriptions of characters do you generally include? I do basics, including if the character has a unique feature (like a scar) or if there is something another character really notices (like Jim Duncan’s hazel eyes).

    As a reader, do you like characters to be described head to toe, the basics, or mostly left for you to imagine? I like the same as a reader. Give me a general picture, but don’t describe them down to the last freckle!

    In your current project, what actor(s) do you imagine in the role(s) of your primary characters? Oh gosh. No one current. Like Annette, I go for a much younger Mark Harmon (think his “Summer School” days) and a much younger Angie Harmon. I’ve never spent much time updating those images.

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  5. How much physical descriptions of characters do you generally include? In short stories, minimal, only what’s essential. In longer pieces there is opportunity for more but it needs to be inserted fairly early or the reader will have already made that decision and the writer doesn’t want to mess with that.
    As a reader, do you like characters to be described head to toe, the basics, or mostly left for you to imagine? Short stories, just what is essential. In books, I want a little more because I think how the author envisioned the character is important. But, I do hope I don’t learn about the third mole, which is the largest, on the character’s right arm. I have read that kinds of thing in books which means that I can jump over whole sentences of non-essential description. When I read that I figure the author was using that as place-holder info but turned out not to need anything there but forgot to cut it the unnecessary description.
    In your current project, what actor(s) do you imagine in the role(s) of your primary characters? For Anne … Mary McDonnell, Helen Mirren or maybe Diane Keaton. For Wendell … Jim Broadbent or William Hurt. These two look like the Wendell that is developing in my mind.

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  6. I prefer minimal description. What I do provide, generally is part of the characters personality and/or adds to the plot. I feel the same way about the characters that I read about. I guess I don’t think in terms of movie or TV. I like to think of my characters as unique. But that’s just me.

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  7. 1. How much physical descriptions of characters do you generally include? Some. Through the POV of my protagonist I can describe clothing, physical characteristics, expressions. However, I fit descriptions of my protagonist though bits and pieces. .
    2. As a reader do you like characters to be described head to toe, the basics, or mainly left for you to imagine? Probably the basics. A head-to-toe description can slow down the story. On the other hand, as a reader I don’t like physical looks to be left completely to my imagination.
    3. In your current project, what actor(s) do you imagine in the role(s) of your primary characters? Funny you should ask. On a plane several years ago, I saw a passenger who could have been my protagonist—tall, dark hair in a single braid, jeans and a T-shirt, pretty much without makeup. When she took out a camera and started shooting as my protagonist might have done, I was ready to call central casting. But so far, I haven’t thought of actors to play the leading roles in my novels.

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