Effective Writing Tips to Describe a Person

As with any piece of writing, it’s essential to paint a picture vividly and make your reader fully grasp your idea. And when writing describing a person, you need to find the right words to make them come to life before your readers.

A person writing on a blank page using a pen.
Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

To help you with that, we’ve listed some interesting writing tips to describe a person in a compelling manner. Try using these tips to help motivate your reader to feel and know the character in more detail.  

Why Should You Describe Someone?

We describe people all the time, even in everyday casual conversations. You may have tried describing your boss to your co-workers or someone new to your friends.

Creating imagery of a person with your writing details can be an effective way to bring a character to life. This is especially important when you’re writing about a character in a novel or story.

You need to describe them vividly before the reader can fully connect and feel emotionally connected with them.

Four Ways to Describe a Person

There are many ways to describe someone. You may choose to list some details about their physical description, their mannerisms, their interests, or anything else.

Here are some common characteristics that are used to describe people.

1. By their appearance

Describing people by appearance means giving a general look at their body type, size, and complexion to characterize them. This is the most common way to describe a person.

It is usually helpful to frame a person’s appearance for the reader. This helps the reader get an image of what the person in question looks like. 

Appearances are one of the most engaging and interesting parts of a person. And this method provides readers with a memorable description of someone.

To describe their body size, you can use words like:

  • Curvy
  • Well-built
  • Full-bodied
  • Heavy

When describing their height, you can say that they are:

  • Tall
  • Short
  • Lanky
  • Petite

To describe their hair:

  • Blonde
  • Curly
  • Straight
  • Frizzy
  • Long-hair
  • Short-hair

2. By their personality

To effectively write and create a character, you need to be able to describe their personality accurately. A good writer knows how to use adjectives, adverbs, and other descriptive words to help shape the character they create. You can use words like:

  • Cheerful
  • Witty
  • Powerful
  • Nice
  • Kind
  • Generous
  • Rude
  • Mean
  • Well-mannered

3. By their mannerisms

You can describe a character by letting readers know their mannerisms. Mannerisms are the way people act or behave. Some examples of mannerisms are:

  • Tapping fingers
  • Cracking knuckles
  • Biting fingernails
  • Rolling eyes

4. By their feelings:

A person’s feelings are always changing. They might be happy, sad, thrilled, pleased, angry, afraid, or distressed. Perhaps they are excited to make it safely from the airport without getting lost. Or they are embarrassed that their clothes don’t match at the party.

By describing a character’s feelings in a particular situation, you can paint a more concrete picture of their thoughts and intentions.

  • Happy
  • Furious
  • Ecstatic
  • Relaxed
  • Nervous

Effective Tips for Writing Describing a Person

1. Prioritize unique character features

You want your character to stand out. The reader must be able to distinguish them quickly from other characters in a piece of writing or a film.

To do that, you need to highlight their most unique features. Emphasize the distinctive qualities of your main character.

2. Give as many details as possible.

To create a solid persona, you’ll need to describe them in many ways. Try including as many details as you can.

You can talk about their appearance, mannerisms, and personality. Aside from these, you can even give details on their thoughts and feelings.

3. Use comparisons

Help your reader understand your character even more by using comparisons. They’re easy tools to use when describing a person because they make the character easier to visualize and perceive within your readers’ minds.

Make sure that your comparisons make sense to your reader. For example, if you were following a character who has a cold personality, describe them as being like a lone wolf.

To Wrap Up

Writing describing a person can be a challenging task. You’ll need to find the right words to bring a character to life. Utilize these tips to help you put into perspective what makes your character unique. These will help you tell a story about what your character is like and present them to your readers clearly.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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