Faces. We all have one.
Whilst I am sure you have considered what your characters look like and may have described their eyes, nose, mouth, any distinguishing features, hair and facial expressions (without using cliches and overdoing it of course!), have you thought about how their faces ‘fit in’ with society or how they feel about their face?
Maybe your character suffers from a skin disease like pityriasis rosea, has a cleft lip, no eyebrows because of a condition called madarosis or maybe they have a severely protruding lower jaw.
More interestingly, maybe your character has psychological issues with how they feel about their face and how they fit it with those around them. How would you describe their face then?
All writers know that less is more and strive to allow the reader to form their own impression of how a character looks. As writers, we learn early on not to over describe, but can we enhance our writing and our readers experience by delving a little deeper?
When you introduce and develop your characters for your readers, don’t write the usual about how they look facially, think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective.
I have a face that doesn’t fit … doesn’t fit into the family I was born to and brought up in; my maternal family. I have always felt this, but until today have never told anyone or expressed feelings about it.
I don’t look like my mother at all. I don’t have her eyes, her nose, her ears, her hair. I sometimes catch a glimpse of her in my lips and eyebrows, but that’s all. I feel the same about my maternal grandparents, my aunties, uncles and cousins. I can see family resemblances between them, but not to myself. And I have no siblings to compare myself to. I stand out as looking different from my known family. My face just doesn’t fit in.
When I first met my father at the age of 49 and my paternal family, I could tell straight away I was my father’s daughter and part of his line. Ah, yes, this is where I get my nose, eyes, ears and everything else from.
In my enquiry, I can go deeper; I feel as well as my face not fitting with theirs, I don’t fit in with my maternal family. As a child and young adult, I struggled to relate and to connect to them. I still do and it still hurts, but I am working on that. I was different, I am different. I know why now. I am no longer ashamed.
Would I have felt any differently from how I do today if I’d been part of my paternal family as well?
I will never know.
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