Create Richer Character Descriptions

Character description is important for helping readers to visualize the characters in a story and to understand the motivations of your characters. It can also sometimes create suspense or foreshadow events.

So, what is character description?

Character description involves the use of sensory details to create the reader’s visual image of a character in their mind. It can describe the character’s appearance, personality, behavior, speech patterns—any number of things distinctive to that character.

It's important to paint a vivid picture.

It's doubly important that you remember the picture you painted.

Consistency in character description is incredibly important. It ensures the story feels realistic and paints a picture of the character in the reader's mind—and there's no faster way to pull a reader out of a story than by changing a detail in Chapter 10 that's been fixed in their mind since you said it in Chapter 3.

I avoid those little oopses by creating character descriptions.

Sudowrite's Describe button is a great way to generate those. Once you click on the Describe button, you'll have six choices you can click on and off. You can use all the options, just one option, or any combination of senses.

I usually start just with Sight.

I also sometimes start with as little as the character's name just to see what the Describe button comes up with.

I snag the second  paragraph, discard the first and third, and put it in the editor.

And I run the Describe button again, still only choosing sight.

So, why did I do that twice?

Because I liked the paragraph, but there are other ways to say it, and I wanted options. All three paragraphs get across the same type of man with the same look and the same type of mannerisms, but they each say it slightly differently.

I want this to be perfect because I'm going to use it as a foundation for my character's saved description. I snag the one I like and add more specific information to it.

If you're still stuck and want Sudowrite to help you further, you can select the text and use Rewrite to get specific additional information, like the clothes he wears or the car he drives.

You can then incorporate what you wish, edit or change what it's given you, or click the button to try for another unique description.

Always remember to add detail to help goose the AI along if you don't like what it's giving you. Slight changes can have big effects.

For example, taking "Joel is a towering figure, with broad, muscular shoulders and piercing green eyes" and changing it to "Joel is an LAPD Detective, with broad, muscular shoulders and piercing green eyes" and then re-running the request for clothing style and car description gets us something completely different.

If you're not getting the output you want, look at what you're giving the AI to work with and see if you can goose it to provide better information about your characters.