Describing the Character

So what does your character look like? By this time, you probably have a vague mental image of what your character will look like, but can you describe the look to the audience? This section will help you develop that mental image into a specific look for your character.

The Character’s General Physical Characteristics

Here are some general aspects of the character to consider:

  • What is the character’s general physiology and body makeup?
  • If the character has legs, how many are there? Is your character a biped or a quadruped, or does the character have more than four legs?
  • Is your character animal-like? What kind of animal does it resemble? Is it like a mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, insect, some lower form of life, or something else entirely that is alive only in your mind?
  • How many appendages besides legs does the character have?
  • How many heads are there? Does one dominate, or do all of them think and react alike?
  • How many arms are there, and where are they positioned?
  • Does your character have wings? If so, what kind? Are they like those of a bat, bird, or insect? Are they fin-like?
  • Does your character have a tail? Does it have more than one, and where are the tails located?
  • Is anything extra attached to the character?
  • How and what does the character eat? Is the character a carnivore and kind of scary, or a mild-mannered and gentle herbivore? Is the character an omnivore or insectivore?

The Character’s Body Type

You need to decide if the character will have one of the three kinds of body types, or if the character is something else entirely. The three body types are as follows:

Ectomorph: Those with this body type have the following characteristics:

  • Are thin
  • Have small bones
  • Have a flat chest
  • Are delicately built
  • Are young and youthful in appearance
  • Are tall
  • Are lightly muscled
  • Have stooped shoulders
  • Have a large brain
  • Have difficulty gaining weight
  • Take longer to grow muscles
  • Have a short upper body
  • Have long arms and legs
  • Have long and narrow feet and hands
  • Have very little body fat
  • Have a narrow chest and narrow shoulders as well as long, thin muscles
  • Have a high metabolism

Endomorph: Those with this body type have the following characteristics:

  • Have a soft body
  • Have large bones
  • Have a slow metabolism
  • Have underdeveloped muscles as well as a small amount of muscle mass and small muscles
  • Have a round-shaped body
  • Have an overdeveloped digestive system
  • Have trouble losing weight
  • Generally find it easy to build muscle
  • Have short musculature
  • Have a round face
  • Have a short neck
  • Have wide hips
  • Have a high body fat percentage

Mesomorph: Those with this body type have the following characteristics:

  • Have a hard, muscular body
  • Have medium-sized to large bones
  • Have a medium to high metabolism
  • Have an overly mature appearance
  • Have a rectangular-shaped body
  • Have thick skin
  • Have a low to medium body fat percentage
  • Have a large amount of muscle mass and large muscles
  • Have an upright posture
  • Gain or lose weight easily
  • Grow muscle quickly
  • Have a large chest
  • Have a long torso
  • Are very strong

Within the body types, there are other things to consider, such as the body style.

Is the character fat, skinny, buff, or a combination of different body styles?

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