Writing Exercise of the Day!

While working in the library on Wednesday, I picked up a copy of “The Writer” magazine and one specific article caught my eye.  In “Keeping it Real: How Round Characters Grow from the Seeds of Detail,” Roy Peter Clark explains character description that adds depth, rather than fluff. 

Here’s Clark’s list of descriptors:

  • Hairstyle
  • Facial features
  • Speech patterns
  • Cultural background
  • Mannerisms
  • Gestures
  • Tastes
  • Brand labels
  • Jewelry
  • Clothing

Writing Exercise: Find ten descriptors in a person at the coffee shop, library, etc. People watch, and read into a person’s personality through any visuals, such as binders, hats, drink choice, shoes, etc. Audio is also very important. Did the person take a phone call? How does he or she speak? Only mention details that distinctly comment on the person’s identity.

Write a description of this person in one paragraph. Remember to both show and tell.


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