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January 2013
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Describing Body Types


Now, one thing a lot of young writers I see forget (especially those who write fanfiction) is that everyone does not have the same body type. One reason I noticed this was because it was a huge writing vice of mine; I got used to everyone already knowing basically what the characters looked like when I wrote fanfiction, so I got lazy in describing people.

So, body type is important, I think, for realism in writing. Because unlike on some cartoon show, people do not fit one mold. There’s a gazillion types out there, all valid and pretty in their own way.

It contributes to the idea that there is only one good body type for either gender when you either describe everyone similarly (unless it’s some sort of dystopian future, and they’re clones or modified on purpose) or give no description of body type at all.

You don’t need to go overboard and describe every person from their chest size to their head shape to whether they have cankles. But, a general idea might help your reader visualize, and yet not force an image on them too much.

For instance, ‘Carolina was top heavy, to the point that it looked like she would tip over if she leaned forward too far,’ or ‘Jace had a practically concave chest, and skinny, bony arms. He looked like someone whose bones had tried to outgrow his skin.’

Of course, you can take this any which way; just point out the most obvious parts of your character’s body type (heart-shaped face? wide hips? stocky build?) and go from there. It’s usually good to have some idea of what your character looks like beyond colors and height.

So, go wild!

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