Visual Writing?

Hi Jim,

I’m having trouble writing a few of my characters. I have a picture in my head of how these people should look, but I’m having trouble translating that onto paper. Please help!


Hi Mili,

All right, the best thing you can do is make a visual of these characters. Do you have someone in mind that they are modeled after?
Let me give you an example… When I wrote Mary Kelly, I had an image in mind of what I wanted her to look like;
Red Hair,
Blue Eyes
Rather stereotypical Irish-esque ginger
A sharp jawline that gives off a someone ‘tough’ look regardless of her mood.

I had no idea who she looked like and started brainstorming who I would cast in her role.

My wife provided me a suggestion that was dead-on:


(Yes, yes, I know, she’s not Irish.)

Rose Leslie looked the part almost perfectly. So, with a little dramatic license, I described her as I would have described Leslie. Yes over time this changed and I made a few updates here and there, but that was my base.

See if you can pick it out:

“Even after discovering that she was there, she was impossible to see until she moved. The lack of lighting where she stood cloaked every feature except the curvature of her form. She was little more than a black figure, but as she moved, the nearby light shined on her features. She was slender with extremely fair skin and bright red hair that was long enough to reach below her shoulder blades, and was brushed back to stay out of her face. She had very light freckles that seemed to congregate on her cheekbones and nose just below her eyes. Despite her scowl, the edges of her lips were curved in a way that she almost always had a slight smile on her face. When her lips curled, they caused a small fold in the philtrum under her nose. She was strikingly pretty, even with a disgusted look on her face.”

So that’s your first option, find someone who matches what your character looks like and write them. That’s the way I’ve written a few of mine.

Another option, if you have some artistic talent, you can always sketch out what you have in mind for a character and then describe the character you’ve drawn out:

So those are basically the two ways that I can offer. They say a picture is worth a thousand words… so then make a picture. Now you’ve got your thousand words to describe that person.

Hope this helps!





Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

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Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!



2 thoughts on “Visual Writing?

  1. I do the same, James. All of my character bios have a picture to go along with them. It’s very helpful as a reference.


  2. S. Hansen says:

    The first option is pretty much bang on what I do. If I can’t find anyone quite right but have found two people almost right I’ll even try face merging… it’s not always a good result.


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