Why is it considered bad writing to describe a characters looks?
I'm reading a really good book and I be noticed the writer uses a little character descriptions even of non essential characters. They give a lone or two to many characters appearance. Their clothes their crooked nose etc. I like it so why is it consodwred bad writing?
- 8 months agoFavourite answer
It depends on how the description is given. A description that gives the reader insight into character, plot, motives or feelings may be very good writing. A long description that does none of these is probably poor writing.
The description of Scarlett O’Hara at the very beginning of Gone With the Wind, tells the reader not only what she looked like, but gives you a pretty good idea of her character.
- Huh?Lv 78 months ago
It's considered bad writing because it's usually unnecessary. There is nothing wrong with a very brief description of even minor characters - for instance saying of someone 'he was long of limb and long of nose' paints a fairly vivid image, what should be avoided is a half-page of boring descriptive text. It just holds things up needlessly.
- Tony BLv 78 months ago
If there's a reason for describing a character’s looks then it's not considered bad writing. A description that helps the reader visualise the character or helps them understand the narrative is good.
The problem is when writers, normally young, inexperienced students, give detailed, lengthy descriptions that are unnecessary. Here's a silly example:
The man who served him was average height and had medium length brown hair and blue eyes. He was slightly tanned and had a thin nose. His hands were clean and his fingers long.
I can't see that that description REALLY helps or serves any purpose, especially if the character is an unimportant one and his appearance doesn't matted. It's also not a good idea fo try to describe in detail something or someone who looks “ordinary”.
- Anonymous8 months ago
It's not. What is bad is when the moment you introduce a character you insert a huge descriptive paragraph without any action or any relevance to what is going on in the story. Worst of all are scenes where the character is describing themselves when looking in a mirror.
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- pianomanLv 78 months ago
Where did you get that asinine idea from?
- LilyRTLv 78 months ago
a straightforward, fact description of someone's looks isn't all that necessary to the plot and just wastes time. hair color, eye color, height, skin tone...is throwaway info. BUT, a lot of great authors spend time describing a character in a way that tells you what kind of person they are beyond just a physical description. dickens was great at this. on some of his characters, I couldn't tell you what color their hair was, but I already know a lot about the person just by the way he describes them.
- MarliLv 78 months ago
A head-to-toe description of a character's looks slows the pace of the story. So does a long description of non essentials. If your character met an unusual creature, a longer description of it is necessary because the reader might not have seen that sort of creature and needs to know what made it unusual. If the heroine in a romance goes "Wow!" or "No way am
I interested in that guy!", the reader needs to know why she reacts so. Maybe she doesn't like red-bearded men. Maybe he looked with a smug expression around the room, as if to confirm he is the best-looking, best-dressed man of all.
Usually readers need just a short description - an impression - of the person. If his dog is a mutt or a Dalmatian, the breed says something about the person's wealth. It is irrelevant to describe where the spots are located. It's relevant how he treats his dog. The red hair or the smug look is relevant if the heroine does not like red hair, beards or men who show they are God's Gift.
- Syntinen LauluLv 78 months ago
It isn't considered bad writing to describe a character's looks; but it can easily be done badly.
- rustbucketLv 68 months ago
Because you say it is.
- JetDocLv 78 months ago
Who says it is?