Mirror, Mirror

Hey y’all, it’s your resident Hump Day Fox, Danica! This week we’re talking about character descriptions.

We’ve all read that scene in a book where the character looks at themselves in the mirror (as though for the first time) and catalogs their features. Which seems kind of silly because you already know what you look like unless you do something drastic to yourself…like grow a second head, or in the case of one of my characters, have a magical tattoo appear on your face.

I’ve used the mirror trick once (see above) and I’m hanging my head in shame. Most of the time, I like to let other characters describe the hero/heroine. You know, what I mean. You’re on a date and your eyes practically devour your date’s features. That’s the kind of description I’m talking about. Of course you probably won’t use words like ‘acquiline nose’ and ‘Cupid’s bow mouth’, but you will think…”wow, he’s got a huge nose” or something. You just can’t help yourself.

When it comes to writing though, I like to picture my characters in my head and describe them like I’m going to marry them (well, the heroes at least). But I try to let other characters do that because unless your character is a narcissist, they aren’t going to think…

He admired himself in the mirror, noting the fine dusting of a 5 o’clock shadow on his chiseled jaw. His bright white teeth flashed in a smile that caused the skin around his seductive brown eyes to crinkle in a charming manner. He rubbed a hand over his thick, midnight black hair, enjoying the way his muscled body flexed with each motion…He was so sexy.

Hm. Okay, I could actually use this in a humorous way, I think. *goes off to ponder her muse and a narcissistic hero*

Sorry, I’m back…and I remembered my train of thought.

My characters look at each other, rather than at themselves. I like deep POV where the hero/heroine really enjoys looking at their love interest. Okay, I probably go a little overboard with the character descriptions, but since I don’t spend that much time describing places, I think that’s okay.

All right! Fine! My first attempt at writing had about six pages of description from the character’s clothes to the room they were in and everyone around them. I was fifteen! Don’t judge me! *sniff*

I got over that. Sort of. Mostly. *sigh* At least I only used the mirror once!

How about you? Do you like to read one character’s description of another?

About danicaavet

Danica Avet lives and writes in the wilds of South Louisiana. Unmarried with no children, she's the proud pet of two cats and a dog. With a BA in History, she decided there were enough fry cooks in the world and tried her hand at writing. Danica loves losing herself in the antics of her characters and blushes more often than not at the things they do. She likes to define her work as paranormal romance with a touch of Cajun spice, but most times her characters turn the notch up to "five-alarm fire"!
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8 Responses to Mirror, Mirror

  1. Daisy Harris says:

    Now I want to read your narcissistic hero! You must write him! NAO!!!!

    Maybe that incubus, Fallon??


    • danicaavet says:

      *gasp* Fallon is not narcissistic! Much…okay, maybe a little, but he’s an incubus, so it’s kind of expected, you know? Man…now you’re making me think I have to write his book next. *dies*


  2. jeff7salter says:

    So who’s the nekkid chickie in that photo? Friend? Relative?
    I’m still not sure I understand the diff. between ‘deep’ POV and regular POV where the character (whose eyes we see things through) observes, thinks, and comments.
    For my 3rd ms., I had so many characters, that I used only last names for several and gave each a distinguishing feature. I had one of the principal characters introduce several of them to my heroine (who was doing a story for the local paper on their unit). As they approached, he told her some things about each person and she observed their characteristics and appearance.


    • danicaavet says:

      I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in deep POV, but I think it’s actually almost thinking the character’s thoughts as they keep up a running commentary on whatever they do or see. Not just “She could see that his nose had been broken once or twice…” kind of thing, but more like “The man’s nose looked like a crooked map. Yeah, she’d seen plenty of those because she’d caused them and hadn’t that been fun!” (I don’t know if that’s a good example, but that’s pretty much how I write, lol)


  3. great post, Danica- I think your hero sounds quite yummy even if he does say so himself!!


  4. everwriting says:

    If I do allow my characters to assess themselves, they are self-critical. In the same book I mention with Jillian’s post, the hero also looks at himself in the mirror (in fact, there’s a slot of mirror stuff going on and I wasn’t even conscious of it until I read all these posts) and sees the 15 year old pump jockey and the 22 year old jarhead he was. The heroine sees someone else. That’s probably pretty near ‘normal’ but incubi are in another realm – still, the dark hair, the flexing… mmmm.


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