How to Describe Characters

Learn how to describe a character

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Character description is a crucial part of story writing. Without proper character descriptions, your readers won’t feel as connected to your characters, making the story less powerful.

When introducing your characters to your readers, using descriptive adjectives helps them to form an image of your character in their minds. Using adjectives to describe characters helps your readers feel more connected to your characters and understand them more deeply.

There are various elements that are involved in a good character description that a young writer must understand. Three crucial elements of character description are appearance, personality, and voice. Using adjectives to describe characters is an important process, but being able to describe characters based on these three elements can elevate your child’s character description abilities as well! Let’s dive in.

Why are adjectives important to use when describing characters?

Adjectives help bring characters to life! Without them, your readers wouldn’t be able to get to know your characters very well at all. It’s important to give your readers a good idea of who your characters are, what their personalities are like, and what matters to them. These are all things your child can introduce from the very beginning of their story with the use of adjectives. Adjectives allow your readers to imagine your characters in great detail, which makes the overall story more engaging to them. Using adjectives to describe your characters can truly make or break a story!

If you are still looking for some more inspiration, we have a lesson on story characters, which you may find helpful as well: Story Characters.

Appearance in character description

One important aspect of character description is appearance. The appearance of your character is what they look like. Describing your character’s appearance may involve describing their facial features (their smile, eyes, and hair). You can also describe their appearance to your readers by writing about their height or what type of clothing they wear. These are all ways to give your readers a clear picture of what your character looks like in their minds.

Example: Sam the Spying Giraffe wears a black spy mask over his eyes, but he isn’t easily hidden given how tall he is! He’s light brown, spotted, and has a rather long neck.

Personality in character description

Another element of character description is personality. Personality may be a little trickier to describe to your readers than appearance because personality isn’t as physical. Personality is the way your character acts and interacts with others and the world around them. There are quite a few ways to describe a character’s personality. Personality involves your character’s attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. For example, your character’s sense of humor is considered a part of their personality.

Example: Sam is funny, loud, and incredibly clumsy. He has powers of invisibility and relentless optimism. Sam is also Will’s best friend and most loyal supporter!

Voice in character description

Finally, voice is also a crucial part of your character description. Although voice is related to personality, it more specifically involves the expression your character has of themselves. Their personality may be one way they express themselves, but voice is distinct from personality because it can be both an inward and outward expression. To show the readers your character’s voice, you can describe the way your character’s actual voice sounds, but you can also show what your character is thinking to illustrate their inner voice.

Example: Although Sam is extremely optimistic, he can’t sometimes help but think of the worst possible outcomes.

Now that you understand why adjectives are so important when writing about your characters and what some of the important elements of character description are, it’s time to try the activities we have prepared! These resources are a great starting point to practice character description. Good luck!

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