What is it all for? (Part 2)

Stephanie’s baby is due this week, and we’ve had a few false alarms, but right now I’ve got a bit of time. This is the next section of the same character “profile” but because I have to use my iPad, the formatting won’t be great, and I can’t really do links.

As it is, this took me most of the day, counting the time I couldn’t work on it.

Physical Characteristics

Height – As I said before, precise numbers are rarely important. Never so much as when regards height and weight. Better to mark it as “short,” “tall,” etc.

Weight – same.

Race – See my remarks on nationality in the first post.

Eye Color – Oh boy. I did an entire rant on this a while back. Undue importance is placed in hair and eye colour. I would only suggest you have these filled in very simply, in order to keep them straight.

Hair Color – same.

Glasses or contact lenses? – same.

Skin color – Siiiiiiiigh. Same as race. In fact, if the answer to this is implied by nationality or race, then don’t include it. Note that it doesn’t say “complexion,” which would invite a note that the princess is tanned despite her attendants’ best efforts to keep her out of the sun. Or whatever.

Shape of Face – This could be good, especially if you’re writing a romance. Character description in that genre calls for more than cursory detail, and face shape is too often foregone anywhere.

Distinguishing features – This is incredibly useful, but I would also leave it blank until such a mark “appears” naturally, while writing. Unless it’s something you already decided on.

How does he/she dress? Again, better to save this for stories that call for detailed description. Often, lots of time spent on clothes is unwelcome, unless there’s a good reason, or it’s expected.

Mannerisms – While this may sound important, it’s something that should really happen organically. I would even say that you shouldn’t write down any for consistency.

Habits – You only need this if the habit in question is important to the story or one that can’t just be ignored or forgotten, like smoking or taking medication at a certain time. (This could include birth control) Drinking counts, since if they neeeeed a drink, that would become a priority.

Health – Most of the time, characters have no health problems. Usually when they do, it’s plot relevant. This has only a very specific purpose and could be relegated to a paragraph of general information.

Hobbies – While these affect and hint at a person’s personalities, don’t choose any that you can’t fit in somehow. Especially if their interest is very casual.

Favorite Sayings – Unless this expressly comes up in the story, this is a complete waste of time.

Speech patterns – These fall under the category of Mannerisms.

Disabilities – Only important if the character has any. This is hardly a catch-all in the ablist world of fiction.

Style (Elegant, shabby etc.) – This could replace “How does he/she dress.”

Greatest flaw – Good for developing character arc.

Best quality – Maybe if it gets them out of trouble?

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