Thursday Thoughts: Character Descriptions?

Hey all, so I am sitting in bed and thinking about the book I just finished, which was Endlessly written by the fabulous Kiersten White and I’m thinking about how the way a character is described (namely, how he or she looks and dresses, hair color, eye color, etc.) can affect the way a person perceives and understands a character. For example, in Endlessly, the main character, Evie, is a blonde bombshell with an affinity for pink. Now, I read the whole first half of this book, picturing Evie as a girl with long auburn wavy hair, a porcelain complexion and a cute but not SUPER HOT visage. And then, at this major turning point, White drops this a-bomb on me with this crazy blonde description. At first, I honestly didn’t know who I was reading about because, for me, Evie was a quirky, but cute, ginger girl. And I liked my Evie, she was easy for me to relate to, to picture. This new description of her changed the way I felt about her. It’s not that I suddenly hated her for being blonde, I was just attached to the Evie that I knew, that I had grown in my mind.

So I started thinking that maybe describing the details of how a character looks might not be the best idea. NOW, I am NO author and basically have no idea what I’m talking about and, yes, of course, the ability to write beautiful descriptions and imagery is a talent that I grievously envy, but just hear me out. One of my favorite things about reading is seeing the story in my head, and that includes creating the characters. So, maybe, leaving out huge defining details like hair color and skin tone is a good thing. It gives the reader free reign to create whoever they want out of the character. My Evie won’t be anyone else’s Evie. I kind of like that. It makes the same book individualized for every reader, which is something I’ve been thinking about ever since I became a fan of John Green. He says that books belong to the readers and the way I read a story will be completely different from the way you read it.

But hey, it’s midnight and I might just be crazy and what do I know?


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