The more you tell your reader about your characters, the more easily he or she will be able to imagine them. Take care to describe your main characters clearly – the heroine, for example. We will be more inclined to enjoy reading your story if we can identify with the heroine. Knowing what she looks like, her likes and dislikes, and perhaps her strengths (her loving nature and sense of humour, for example) and weaknesses (clumsiness and forgetfulness), makes us care more about what is going to happen to her in the course of the stories.
Minor characters, such as passer-by, shouldn’t be neglected as well. However, they do not necessarily have to be described in detail. A few appropriate adjectives, however, can make all the difference.
In our first part of the two parts, we will look at 3 categories: Old and Young, Babies, and Children.
OLD AND YOUNG
The old woman’s veins protruded through the wrinkled skin of her hands.
Her weather-beaten face creased into deep wrinkles when she filed.
The old woman’s artificial teeth clicked as she slurped the soup with noisy relish.
She was dressed neatly in comfortable slacks and a white blouse. Her silver-grey hair was combed back into a bun.
The elderly sweeper looked small and frail in his baggy clothes. Even his leathery skin looked loose.
The baby’s grandmother stroked his soft cheek with a work-roughened, calloused finger.
The chubby baby gurgled happily.
His cherubic face broke into a dimpled smile.
The baby extended its plump hands with tears glistening in his eyes, wanting to be picked up.
The baby’s mouth was like a rosebud, supple and precious.
The newborn baby’s head lolled against his chest.
The baby yawned sleepily and then gave an endearing and toothless smile.
His shirttail was hanging out, and his glasses were crooked. Once again, he had been fighting.
She is a well-mannered girl, though perhaps too prim and proper.
The two boys looked hot and scruffy.
The bottoms of Jay’s jeans were caked with mud.
The girl’s hair was braided into two long plaits, which hung down her back.
The boy’s face was covered with freckles and his two upper front teeth protruded like a rabbit’s.
Encourage your child to use these descriptions in the tests and examinations. Help them familiarise with these phrases through simple activities by writing short introductory paragraphs with one or two of the descriptions, or give them short dictation quizzes!
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