- Collection of Writer's Tips # 2by Sally Law
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Facial Features
Collection of Writer's Tips # 2 by Sally Law
Story of the Month contest entry

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Welcome to my second installment for FanStory writers at every level.

Today, I will continue with the facial features. A well-described character sets the reader's imagination to flight. People generally read books that have rich character descriptions because there is someone in the story to whom they relate. In "Les Miserables," I identify with Fantine, and the powerful love she has for her daughter, Cosette.

The reader must be able to conjure up a mental picture of the characters for a deeper connection to the story. Without it, the reader loses interest and tosses the book aside. How many half-read novels do you have lying around? My point exactly.

The face is the most important defining characteristic. From there you move outward.

Be courageous here, dear writers. It will revolutionize your writing.

From my novella, Double Blind~ The Finale:

Tine slid into his arms, like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle as it snaps into place.

They sat in silence, enraptured, simply feeling each other's warmth. Bobby studied her beautifully formed face, kissing each section. He adored everything: her smooth skin, sparkling blue eyes, and the little freckles stretching from her nose to the apples of her cheeks. "What is this?" he said, gently touching the bruise on her lip.

"It's no matter, but it needs kissing."

Then, he lifted her chin with a single finger and pressed his lips to hers, certain he'd never kissed like this... or would ever be satisfied with another. The undercurrents of love and passion erupted between them.

In a practice session, sit down and describe the face of someone. Include their hair, brows, eyes, nose and mouth, lips, chin, ears, complexion, birth marks and scars... whatever comes to mind.

Here is my exercise for the purposes of this post.

[My grandfather, Thomas, was a portly fellow, always balancing a book on his protruding stomach in the dim light of our Antebellum home.

I was told he had hair once--a thick pile of golden hair he secured with Vitalis. Old Spice permeated from his clean-shaven face and clung to my cheek after he kissed me. The years had been unkind to him, and were etched into his brow. His blue-gray eyes were usually shielded with round spectacles wired around his ample ears. If his glasses weren't working their way to the very edge of his nose, they were loosely held in his right hand. We had many family sessions searching for his waylaid specs.

His cheeks blushed at all times, in the heat or cold. It didn't matter.

He liked me, I think, and always spoke when I came in from school. Without looking up from his pages, he quizzed me about my day until he was fully satisfied.

How he slept, no one knew. The gentleman drank one cup of coffee after another throughout the day. His last cup went up the stairs with him at bedtime.]

This example took me five minutes to write. Don't be discouraged if yours takes longer or even all day. The point is: descriptions of the characters should be so real, it brings them off the page. You want this as a writer.

{Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow}

Ash blonde, auburn hair, bald head, bald-headed, balding head, black hair, black-haired, black-headed, blond, blonde, brown hair, brunette, curly hair, dark brown hair, dirty blonde, fair-haired, golden hair, gray hair, gray-haired, gray-headed, light brown hair, platinum blonde, red-headed, red-haired, silver hair, silvery-blond hair, strawberry blond, tow-head, tow-headed, unruly hair and wavy hair.

Note: blonde is for females, and blond is for males. Gray is the common spelling in the United States, whereas in Europe, it's grey.

>>In a sentence: I'm easily identified by my platinum blonde hair and fair complexion.


Beach hair, bed head, bleached hair, bottle job, braided hair, damaged hair, messy hair, morning hair, mop-headed, over-processed hair, tangled hair, teased hair, tousled hair, wind-blown hair and wind-swept hair.

In a sentence >>My hair's a tangled mess no matter what.

In a sentence>> As a teenager, I spent hours rolling, teasing, and spraying my unruly hair into place.

{The Nose Knows}

Beaky nose, bloodied nose, broken nose, bulbous nose, crooked nose, enormous nose, freckled nose, Grecian nose, hooked nose, narrow nose, pitted nose, pointed nose, Roman nose, runny nose, small nose, snot-nosed, turned-up nose, and veiny nose.

In a sentence>>Actor Karl Malden had the most bulbous, veiny nose I've ever seen.

In a sentence>>My grandmother's hooked nose kissed her drooping chin.

{Lips, Teeth, and Mouth}

Blue lips, bluish lips, busted lip, cracked lips, creamy lips, curled lips, dry lips, fat lip, glossy lips, kissable lips, lined lips, lying lips, moist lips, painted lips, pink lips, ruby lips, ruby-red lips, and thin lips.

Chipped teeth, crooked teeth, decaying teeth, freshly-scrubbed teeth, over-whitened teeth, pearly whites, toothless, tobacco-stained teeth, and yellowing teeth.

Honeyed mouth, mouthy, potty mouth, puckered, seductive mouth, turned-up mouth.

Cheshire grin, devilish grin, or wide grin. Clownish grin or incessant grinning.

In a sentence>>The starlet appeared on the red carpet as the cameras followed. "The look was pure perfection," raved a blogger. "There's nothing more lovely than her honeyed mouth."

In a sentence >>My brother came home with a fat lip, and it was then I handed him the frozen peas, hoping his potty mouth had been cured.

In a sentence >>The used car salesman turned me off immediately with his clownish grin and yellowed teeth.

{Cheeks, Chin, and Jaw}

Apples of the cheeks, blushing cheeks, dimpled cheeks, flaming cheeks, freckled cheeks, red cheeks, rosy cheeks, rouged cheeks, soft cheeks, tender cheeks and warm cheeks.

In a sentence>>Unfortunately for me, my fair skin easily gives way to red cheeks.

Ample chin, bearded, double chin, full beard, fuzzy chin, goatee, hairy chin, pointed chin, or square chin.

In a sentence >>My mother shaved my brother's goatee while he was sleeping. Naturally, he blamed me for the seizure of personal property.


Clean-shaven, 5 O'clock Shadow, freckle-faced, manicured look, rough appearance, smooth-faced, stubble and whiskers.

In a sentence >>My husband was bearded when we lived in Upstate New York. Most men do this to prevent the skin from chapping.

Chiseled jaw, round jaw, square jaw and tight jaw.

In a sentence >>The sworn affidavit sounded hypocritical coming from someone with clenched fists, shifting eyes, and a tight jaw.

{I Can't Ear You}

Ample ears, big ears, cute ears, dainty ears, deformed ears, delicate ears, elfin ears, fat ears, gargantuan ears, hairy ears, jeweled ears, leathery ears, lopsided ears, mangled ears, misshapen ears, odd- looking ears, pointed ears, prominent ears, protruding ears, red ears, scarred ears, ugly ears, and weathered ears.

Big-eared, critical ear, deaf ear, deaf ears, devilish ears, disbelieving ear, dull ear, dutiful ear, feverish ears, innocent ears, listening ears, musical ear, sensitive ears, trolling ears, unresponsive ears, waxy-eared, well-trained ear, and wet behind the ears.

In a sentence>>To acquire a musical ear is one of life's greatest pleasures.

In a sentence>>Truth is wasted when it falls on unresponsive ears.


Baby-faced, beastly features, boyish features, contoured features, delicate features, disproportionate features, elfish features, feminine features, grotesque features, hideous features, large features, manly features, noble features, refined features, and smooth features.

Ghostly pallor
Maimed beyond recognition

In a sentence>> Christine touched the Phantom's grotesque features in the dim light of the opera house. A single tear escaped her eye in pity.

In a sentence>>The cadaver had wounds consistent with a fist fight. He was bloodied, bruised, and had been beaten about the head. The poor soul had been maimed beyond recognition.

Until next time....


Author Notes



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