Describing Character Faces
Every character has a face and every writer, at some point, has to engage in the process know as describing character faces. As in, put words to their mental picture of a particular character. Whether that character is ugly, pretty, scarred, plain, or whatever, there needs to be some description of what they look like. And Humans, being so facial-centric, usually focus on the face. It makes sense. I don’t disagree.
Problem is, though, my characters don’t really have, eh, typical faces. Human-like ones, at any rate. Not really a problem, but more of a fact of what I write and love. So let’s see, the main cast and their heads:
- Cyclone. He wears a helmet. I described his helmet well enough, but what is underneath is bare bones. Literally. His head is a skull. Not much to describe there–and he is barely ever without his helmet so the chances to do so are basically non existent.
- King. Also wears a helmet. A green bubble-like helmet. Kind of iconic, as described in the first chapter ever. Beneath his helmet has never been described. So far, anyway *gives a shifty gaze and perhaps gestures to Of Fractured Edges.*
- Spellbinder. Being a robot of sorts (words fail to describe her), Spellbinder has a very simple head. It is a rectangle with two circle eyes. Yeah. So much prose needs to go into describing that countenance.
- Farrco. Also a robot. Slightly more complex though. Farrco’s silhouette is by far the most complex. The description of his form is done through Wildfire and I kind of, eh, dumped it all into a single passage because I hated describing all of his complexities. I guess that goes for all of them — say what they look like and then reference their attributes when it comes up. I don’t need to re-dump their appearance over and over again. They are there.
- Hequera — A Dracite (Dragon for the uninitiated)! Yeah. I should describe her face more, I know, I know, but scales and stuff and she is more focused on the Wolfen than herself. I’ll do better. (Not pictured because I don’t have a portrait of her.)
Somehow all of my character designs enable my lack of desire to describe facial features or features in general. I think my writing also shows this quality of mine. Through bursts of intense description and just letting it roll from there. People have told me that they actually had a great idea of what everything looked like and my descriptions were great, so I guess they are on point. Instead of muddying it through sprinkling through multiple sections, I decided that if I am entering a new location/seeing a new sight I better say what it look likes so people don’t get the wrong image in their heads. This probably stems from me constantly doing that in books I read. Explicitness wins!
Yeah. I’m striving to do better at describing faces and such. Until that day, check out my terrible artwork so your mental image can get corrupted with the poorly portrayed truth.
Originally published at www.thespineoftheempire.com on August 15, 2016.