So, here's a mini "game" I thought of (which has already probably been done somewhere else.) to help people out!:
When it comes to writing a story, one of the hardest things is being able to use more than vision, and touch to describe something. However, when vivid imagery is involved, being able to use more than just those two senses can mean the difference between general writing and fully immersing the reader in your stories!
Here's a little example. Each of these words has a different way of "describing" something. We're familiar with the five basics of "sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch", but there are also other ways to describe a character, or maybe a place... or almost anything you can think of!
So, here's where the little "game"/"assignment" comes into play. Each of these words below is a prompt. For each word, write approximately one paragraph describing an OC using adjectives, ideas, analogies, etc. that correspond to the word given.
Here's the part to copy/paste:
For me specifically, I will use my character, Sergeant Wolf! (Partially because he's my main character... and also because it's fun to describe him!) In this particular case, I'm doing the descriptions from a stranger's point of view. (So, of someone observing Sergeant Wolf.)
Character: Sergeant Wolf
Sight: This humanoid-wolf had a rather unusual build for someone of his species. Being thick in stature, he sported broad shoulders and a decently large midriff. His features were soft, giving him a friendly demeanor reminiscent of a teddy bear one would hug at night for comfort and courage to get through the frightful nights unharmed.
Sound: Heavy footsteps could be heard, along with a gentle swishing of denim jeans, down the hallway. A calm and melodic voice rung out from the visitor, filling the air with smooth intonations and muted tones of melancholy. Their way of speech was chantey, lulling the atmosphere into a hush whenever they spoke.
Smell: Nostalgia struck me as I buried my face in the creature's fur, smelling the sharp musk of wet dog with an accent of some form of pungent flower. Lavender. Despite these obvious smells, there was a hint of a warm, inviting fragrance, reminding me of the times I would smother my face in a scarf on a cold winter's day.
Taste: I peeled my face from the wolf's stomach, tasting a mouth full of gritty, oily hairs as some of his loose fur came with me. That was the last time I would ever run face first into a wolf. All I could do was gag as the clingy pieces of bitter fur covered my tongue and cheeks, making me realized that I had literally licked the sweaty fur off of a dog's arm.
Touch: It was like hugging my parents through bundles of toasty blankets in the chilly night air. Unlike the fur of most dogs, this werewolf seemed to groom himself a lot, as I had noticed while stroking his belly fur. I wrapped my arms around his waist, finding that they sunk into the soft, moldable fat he seemed to accumulate around his midriff. It felt comfortable enough for me to... want to... fall asleep....
Mentality: Strong and bold on the outside. That was a fact I picked up easily, but there was something a little deeper in him. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I could sense a tinge of fear, maybe even guilt, coming off of this creature. Its eyes were hard to read, but I managed to gather enough to know it was intelligent enough to feel a sense of dread about the situation.
Composure: The creature's face stayed stern. I could not sense anything from how it acted, as its face was unreadable, and its movements gave away nothing more than it was currently fighting against an opponent much larger than itself. It was shocking how the creature kept its calm, possibly allowing it to analyze the situation to come up with a strategy to win.
Posture: He spent most of his time at his computer desk, from what he told me. This seemed to contribute to the slight slouch he had in his shoulders, as his arms were possibly used to resting on arm rests. The big belly he had possibly did not help his posture either, as I imagined it could only have weighed a lot and made it harder for the werewolf to stand upright when the forces of gravity worked against him.
Emotion: Was that a tear I saw in his eye? Weren't werewolves supposed to be heartless, bloodthirsty killers, like in the movies? Yet, here he was, staring down at the dampened remains of the tree, a pained expression plastered on his face. He cupped a hand over his eyes and sobbed quietly. I could only watch as the werewolf's shoulders stuttered up and down.... I was right -- the werewolf was crying.
Attraction: Peculiar how an otherwise majestic creature could actually turn out to be as pathetic of a display as this one. Where most werewolves would have snarling teeth, and agile, lean bodies, this werewolf had quite the opposite, sporting a rounded figure and a stiff movement. All the while, I could not help myself growing fond of its presence. It was obviously friendly, and its appearance was more inviting. However, there was an unsettling charisma about this creature. It upset me that I couldn't figure out why, but why did my heart flutter when I saw him?
Action: The werewolf's figure betrayed nothing of his athleticism. While he was obviously not fast, his agility and strength far surpassed my expectations of a creature with his body type. His movements became fluid and rhythmic, matching up with the song that played in the background of this place. While he usually kept to himself and avoided showing off, his composure had changed in the face of his competitor. He became more bold in his movements, zealously putting one foot in front of the other as he danced. He also had an elegance to him, seeming to come from years of practicing this strange form of dance he called the "John Step".
Alignment: With the proof of all the animals in the animal shelter enjoying the company of the overgrown teddy bear of a werewolf, it could only mean that guy was good, right? Was I supposed to be sickened by the goody-two-shoes attitude this creature had, which went against what I thought a werewolf's nature should be? He was a good guy, that was for sure, but after seeing how he treated all these societal laws with respect, and would even save a kitten from a tree, there was no doubt... and it made me sick to my stomach.
Those are just a few examples of ways I'd utilized specific prompts to describe a character. All in all, it boils down to what your aim is with the character:
- What are you trying to get people to notice about the character?
- What "prompt" word would you use to get that across?
- What other ways can you describe the character to get your meaning across?
In the end, it will boil down to the methods you use to describe someone. If you can engage all the senses in describing someone, even if it is done minutely, it will allow for a more well-rounded character that people can relate with.
Thank you for being willing to read this! I hope you had fun trying to activity!