In historical fiction it is important to be accurate and the only way to do so is to research the era. What is highly recommended by many writers is to write your story first. While writing your story, mark the parts that you’re not sure are correct and then do the…

Hello :) How can you describe the appearance of your protagonist whilst maintaining the flow of the story and making it not seem forced and/or unnatural?


  • Have them compare themselves with others. In one of my stories, how my character relates to her deceased mother ties in heavily with how she views herself and her appearance. I describe her appearance by having her use her mother’s photo as a comparison. It gets characterization in as well as description!
  • Use action. Long hair, have the character put it in a bun. A preference for loose clothing can be described through a desperate attempt to find good clothes for a date. A scar can be related with backstory. Keep up the action in the story, and people will keep reading.
  • Stick to a few defining features. It’s okay to go a little lavish on your main characters, but leave room for the reader’s imagination. Facial features that will stand out (a pointed chin, a scar across the nose), body shape, clothing style, etc. A story is not a picture; you have to go with what you think defines your character the best. Let your readers fill in the details; that’s the fun part of reading!
  • Have other characters point out defining features. This is a little bit trickier, but it’s still easy to have other characters mention how much your character looks like a brother or doesn’t resemble his father, leading to a comparison description. You get description in without breaking the flow!

Consider carefully:

  • The dreaded mirror trick. The secret to writing is that nothing is truly out, but there’s a reason why many people warn against having your character study themselves in the mirror; it’s overused and often pointless to the story. On the other hand, if you’re writing a genre (romance, chick lit, etc) where appearance could be an important factor, you could pull this off.
  • Putting other characters down in the process. Unless your character is supposed to be an asshole, having them put others down while describing their own appearance will always have your character come off as a jerk. Yes, even if those other characters are antagonists. It’s just a bad move if that’s not the character you want.
  • Brand name checklist. Name dropping clothing brands is not going to tell me the color, shape, or how well the character looks in the clothes. Go for detail, not just names, especially if it’s important.
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my hair is my crown.


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this is some next level british grandma carpeting