Is it important what a character looks like?
When reading fiction, we can’t really see the characters anyway. Some writers will write pages and pages filled with physical description but is this really necessary?
As a reader, I build up a vision of the characters in my mind. I do this with my own imagination. I use what the author gives me, but I add to that my personal experiences and general impressions I get from the text.
The real reason I’m asking this question is that I have come to realize that I don’t use much in the way of physical description in any of fiction I have I have written since starting my five-year mission.
Is there a value to using physical description or can I just leave it alone. Is it enough to know the setting, the family life and the age of the character? We can learn a lot about a character from his history, his choices, and his dialogue. The story gives us clues throughout and helps us to form a picture in our minds. Your picture may be different than mine, and that’s fine.
I find that when I read passages of physical descriptions in any work, I tend to skim right past them. To me, that isn’t an integral point of the story. I don’t want anybody to skip through my reading.
I have a lot of questions about writing. Last year I thought I knew what I was doing but now I am looking more critically at my own work. I believe this is a healthy thing to do that will only help to improve my writing overall.
Please weigh in on this issue in the comments. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks!