Physical Description | Teal Tip

Writing good physical description is hard.

Writing a fantastic physical description really isn’t easy. We want our readers to imagine our characters – to see them in their mind’s eye. So, we need a good physical description to give our reader’s insight into our character’s lives.

Too little description and the characters do not come to life. Too much description and you can lose a reader for life. The goal is to find a happy medium.Physical description
That means you should focus on a few well-chosen details – details that reveal character. Think about a woman who wears a tortoise hat, or a man who wears a bespoke dark blue suit. Our image of that character immediately comes to life; the physical descriptions reveal possible character details. Who is that woman? And where did she get that hat? Readers immediately perceive her as quirky and eccentric – all with one well-chosen detail.

Well-Chosen Physical Description

As you craft your writing, work on including those well-chosen details that provide your readers a unique understanding of your characters. Then you readers will be able to imagine the characters you have created, and they will be pulled into your story.

One last thing – if you are writing in first person or limited third person, the details that your main character pays attention to also reveal more about your main character. How did they know that was a custom-cut suit? They must be the type of person who pays attention to those details; they even use the appropriate vocabulary in their physical descriptions. If your main character is not so detail driven, they wouldn’t be thinking about the bespoke suit. They might just be annoyed by the fancy man taking too long in the taco line.


Still stuck on your physical description? Check out Carve Magazine’s “Ten Tips for Writing Physical Descriptions of Your Characters.”