Monday, April 9, 2012

Writing Prompt #5: Body Parts Like Something Something

And away we gooooooooooo!!!

Writing Prompt #5

No matter who or what our characters are, no matter if they're alien or human or little shiny toasters, we have to give our readers some descriptors on what our heroes and villains look like. Thing is, a lot of writers (and I'm counting myself in this group as well) fall back on the typical physical targets for our cliche metaphors and similes. We tend to talk about the hair, the mouth, the eyes. I'm just going to go ahead and say that if we never again read about eyes described as pools of water we'll all probably have better lives. And live longer. And have awesome sex.

Seriously. Let's stretch that descriptor muscle (Um, this could be one of the physical body parts worthy of describing...). What about the earlobes? What about the shape of the moles up your heroine's inner wrist? What about the strange, stunted nub on the Tractyl Minister from Alpha-574?

Here's the deal: Dream up a character and write a paragraph describing their physical condition without resorting to the boring standbys of lips as red as blood or biceps bulging out of a ringer tee. Characters have more body parts than that. I swear I've seen more than eyes, noses and lips on people (though those might be the only parts of a Tractyl. I can't readily say.). Pick some of the other body parts and work on describing them with substance and attention to physical detail. It's sure to make your writing more dynamic and unique. Or at the very least, it'll wake up readers when you wax poetic about webbed toes and goiters.

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