#LoveOzLit: AJ Betts on the one reminder from her editor about her characters

AJ Betts on what her characters look like

How characters sound, feel and behave but…

What do they look like?

It’s something so simple, but AJ Betts highlights how easily that part can be forgotten. I mean, how they behave, feel and sound, those are the things that I always go to when I write a review, but never how they look.

But the thing is, how they look supports those things above too.

We all know Harry Potter is a fighter right? But remember when you first opened the book and didn’t know what would happen to Harry, and this was the description you saw:

HARRY had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair and bright-green eyes. He wore round glasses held together with a lot of Sellotape because of all the times DUDLEY had punched him on the nose. The only thing HARRY liked about his own appearance was a very thin SCAR on his forehead which was shaped like a bolt of LIGHTNING

If nothing else, you’d know he was a fighter with that description.

What was the most unexpected physical description you’ve read? How did it change the image it had of the character in your mind?


  • divabooknerd says:

    I think I’m one of the few readers that doesn’t pay all that much attention to what a character looks like, even with descriptions I can never really imagine them. I find their intellect and wit more attractive qualities overall. Harry Potter was quite the little dork wasn’t he 😀

  • I appreciate a good description but love the depth of character more.

  • I know some readers don’t care about description and don’t really picture characters in their heads anyway, but I do! So it’s frustrating to me when there’s no description. I end up wavering between hair color and other traits, trying not to commit to anything in case the description is coming later, and that just ends up being distracting.

    And like you pointed out, physical description can also tell us something about the character’s personality. I shared a quote in a review recently about a character’s description because even though it was about what he looked like, I felt like it really added a lot of depth to him and made him sound really interesting.

  • Where there is no description or when it takes too long to GET a description I find that I’ve already made up something in my head and I’ll always get a surprise or be disappointed with the eventual revelation! It is important to describe to the reader but at the same time I don’t want a rundown of every character upon meeting them… It’s a tough juggling act!

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