Thursday, May 24, 2012

Character Descriptions

I am one of those readers who does not want every single little detail given to me about the character in a story. I hate when I read something like the following: "He had cat like eyes that shimmered gold and were flecked with blue which were accented by his wavy, pale blond hair. His tan, taut abdomen glistened as he walked towards her. All six foot five of him." Lame sentence, but you get where I am going.
The real writing faux pas that puts a serious bee in my bonnet is when a writer uses a famous person to describe their character.
It gives mama a twitch like you cannot believe.
I recently read an excerpt of a book where the author used 6, yes 6, tv/movie actors/characters to describe her main antagonist. Seriously? I sat there trying to imagine this amalgamation and realized I couldn't because the characters I did know, I already had a specific attachment to them as they were, and the ones I did not know where useless to me. I get she had a vision of this guy in her head, but do me and everyone else a favor, describe him as you see him and let us go from there.  I may think of Hugh Jackman in parts when I write, but I would never say, "He resembled Hugh Jackman in X-Men." To me, it is being damn lazy doing that. How many of us walk around, see someone good looking and say, "Gee, he carries himself like Ryan Gosling in Drive, but smiles like Damon in The Vampire Diaries."

Side note: Watched "Drive" this weekend and we LOVED it.

I just do not understand an author's lack of understanding that using Johnny Depp or Cameron Diaz as a describer can ruin a read for some folks. Let me add to this peeve by saying it also bugs me when in the story the character(s) might be watching "Sons of Anarchy" or reading "People" magazine. Silly? Maybe, but it is distracting as all hell. Especially when it adds nothing to the story. It is useful if the character watches the show all the time and likes to emulate a favorite person on the show or maybe the mom in the story loves celebrity gossip and is always seen holding a "People" mag in her hands. Then yes, that helps add insight and builds the character. A random mention? Annoying.

I get some authors may do this to try and connect with their readers, but I get disconnected. I love me some Joe Manganiello from True Blood, but if that is who my character resembles, I am not going to say that. I will do my best to give you that idea, but in the end, as the reader, the character looks how you envision it by what I have given you.

Bonus Pix ;-)


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