Different Personas

We think we walk around, looking and acting the same, day in and day out, unless, of course, it is Halloween. But this is not true. We change, sometimes hourly, depending upon where we are, what we are doing and who we are with.
Some might not consider this wearing a disguise, but, in essence, it is.

When I go to the gym I wear a t-shirt and shorts. To church, dress slacks and a nice top, combined with earrings and a necklace. I dress in a similar manner when I go to the theater, but when I eat lunch at the senior center, I wear jeans and a sweatshirt. To go for a walk, I put on a hat and my glasses get dark. In other words, I look different depending upon what I am doing.

So must the characters in your stories. Every time the character does something, you would not want to go into detailed descriptions of what he is wearing, for that would soon be tiresome. But it is something you would bring up if it made a difference.

Let’s say your character is running from the law. She will probably cut and style her hair differently, maybe change its color, and purchase clothing that she would normally not wear. She might wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and avert her eyes whenever meeting someone at a store.

What if your character is a famous singer? Perhaps he will also wear a hat pulled down low to cover his eyes. Instead of his designer jeans, he might put on his most ragged ones with well-worn tennis shoes.

Your task is to reread something you have recently written. Look for scenes in which it would feel natural to mention some form of clothing or description. Write it in, then sit back and think. Does it add to the scene? Make the character come alive? It should. If not, why? Did you simply add a list of details or blend them into the scene?

This is a fine line that authors walk. Too much detail in one place slows down the story. Too little detail and the reader can’t picture the character.

Have fun with this one.

Good luck!

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