4 ideas to compose an improved Character Portrait: browse Here

4 ideas to compose an improved Character Portrait: browse Here

To get ready because of this week’s post, we took a glance at my records through the Cheryl Strayed retreat we went to a couple of weeks hence. We shared the things I discovered right right here and here and here. Thankfully, I happened to be capable of finding some more gems—and composing prompts.

Today’s subject? Character portraits.

1. Character Portraits Unveil Relationship

A portrait is a description of an individual or even team of individuals.

From Cheryl Strayed, nevertheless, we discovered portraits also expose the connection between someone plus the journalist (in memoir) or any other character (fiction).

For instance, someone might explain their daddy utilizing terms like “looming,” “powerful,” and “spoke with a deep sound.” These words evoke some of that fear or intimidation a child may have for his parent in addition to providing a physical description.

Someone else (his spouse, for instance) could use different terms to explain the man that is same.

Therefore consider, does your portrait reflect the person’s relationship towards the presenter?

2. Character Portraits Are About More than the Real

Cheryl read us a paragraph from the author about their mother—but he didn’t make use of a single description that is physical.

Alternatively, he composed, “She had been the sort of girl who was simply charming and beloved by strangers, but most of us near to her couldn’t assist but walk on egg shells.”

We made this instance up because i possibly couldn’t keep in mind the precise paragraph. Nonetheless, i actually do keep in mind the author composed about their mother’s actions, exactly just how she made individuals feel, and exactly just exactly what she stated, while entirely avoiding explaining her appearance.

You don’t have actually to get rid of description that is physical. Instead, we encourage you to definitely start thinking about the manner in which you might create a graphic of a character in the event that you couldn’t explain his / her look.

3. Character Portraits Can Be Manufactured for Groups of individuals

Whenever Cheryl had been hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in her own memoir crazy, she kept running as a particular types of hiker. This band of hikers talked a way that is certain wore particular gear, and were all hiking for comparable reasons. To portray this team, Cheryl chose to combine them all into one, solitary character.

Where you need to depict a particular variety of individual, she stated, you are able to decide to either combine those individuals into just one character, like she did (in memoir, i may include), you can also literally compose a portrait for the team.

For instance, “The females of Logan Circle use Lululemon yoga pants, racer-back tank tops, and yoga mats strapped across their backs.” That’s exactly exactly how I would personally describe people that are certain Logan Circle, D.C. It’s maybe not really a portrait of just one girl, but a kind of girl that i see there.

I am aware driving a car of stereotyping by describing teams that way. My recommendation is always to play the role of accurate and reasonable, but and also to not be afraid to lean to your character’s subjectivity.

The question that is real the way the character would see these folks. Would he/she genuinely have a nuanced viewpoint?

4. Whenever Writing Character Portraits, Stick To The TEMPERATURE

I wrote straight straight down this estimate from Cheryl:

An individual you realize well does one thing they constantly do, that’s a true point of temperature and interest, so when some one does one thing they never do, it is additionally a spot of temperature and interest.

Put another way, stick to the temperature.

I do believe these tips is specially useful in memoir. Will there be something someone that you experienced always does? Could it be in your description of her or him? Or even, it must be!

How about a right time an individual did one thing they never do? Why did they are doing it? Tell us into the feedback!


We have a few related writing encourages for you personally today:

  1. Write a portrait of somebody without explaining spanishdate her or him actually.
  2. Write a portrait of a team or group of individuals (or kind of individual).
  3. Write a portrait of your self at your absolute best or your worst.

Select one of many writing prompts and compose for a quarter-hour. Whenever your time is up, share your writing when you look at the commentary area. if you share, please be sure to offer feedback to your other article writers.

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