Hello! One thing I've noticed about myself is that I always need action to describe my characters. A character changes clothes to go to a meeting, for instance. That's an example from something I wrote. Up until that point, if there was a reader that wasn't yours truly, they'd have no darn clue what any of the characters look like. I write mostly for myself, so I sometimes I don't bother describing my characters. I've been trying to do this less, however. My prose always keeps going, it doesn't stop. Action, dialogue, action. I can't find ways to organically introduce description without slowing down the prose too much and boring the reader to tears by writing a self-indulgent shopping list.

Because when it does slow down, I don't like it. It's repetitive, bland, it's like I was describing something in language that wasn't my own. And when I describe things, I always pack the descriptions with character. All my characters are extremely subjective and have wildly disparing views from one another.

I got an assignment to describe a character physically and psychologically, and I can't do it. I picture a character with action. My manipulative bastard has orchestrated a pandemonium for her benefit and is smiling knowingly. My roguish mercenary has just shot someone down and by his posture you can sense the burden his lifestyle weighs on him.

I can't do descriptions like that without action. When I try to rephrase those examples, like:

She smiled knowingly, twirling her umbrella in smug superiority.

I feel like that sentence up there says a lot about the kind of person she is, but it's not… description-like? It gives the sense as if she just delivered a scorching one-liner, like it was a pause between dialogue than actual description.

Read:  How to write clever characters playing mind games?

I realize that this is a lot of information, so I'll try to condense it a bit.

  • I can't seem to introduce descriptions organically without slowing the prose and boring the reader.

  • I can't describe my characters without having them do something

I appreciate any help you guys could give me! Thanks!

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