TFTSP: Characters Descriptions and Mirrors

Posted on: September 26, 2022

Tips from the Slush Pile: Do not have your character describe themselves while looking in a mirror. Just…don’t. I’ve lost count of the manuscripts I’ve read where this happens, usually in the first 10 pages. And if it’s not a mirror, it’s reflective surface of some sort. There are better ways, people.
Your character could talk about how much they hate their plain, straight brown hair, envies their sister’s baby blue eyes so much lighter than their own. Or have them love their darker skin and the way their curls fall just right. Lots of ways that will show the reader character!
That being said, the only time this was successfully done was by the immensely talented Kevin Ikenberry. I don’t have the book in front of me so I may get the wording wrong but the intent is the same. It went like this: “I took a look at myself in the mirror. Yep. Same as yesterday.”
That made me laugh. Very in character.
Photo by Taylor Smith from Unsplash.

Other Articles