tagHow ToCharacter Description Dos and Donts

Character Description Dos and Donts



Half of the stories you see on this website suffer from a simple, and easily-reversible flaw. Show, not tell. Specifically, characters. The paragraph below is an example of a writing style that is unimaginative, cheap, lazy, and unappealing to read.


"Hi, my name is Brenda. I've been going to Fuckmesilly University for three years now. I'm 5'2", blonde, and I weigh 100 pounds. I have DD breasts, and bright blue eyes. I like to shave my pussy, but sometimes only in a landing strip. I find it hard to buy bra's sometimes, so I often go without."


There are many MANY things wrong with the above paragraph, but the first and foremost is SHOW not TELL. This is the most basic rule that you learn in writing. The first time I heard about show not tell, I was in fifth grade. If a visiting author of CHILDREN'S books knows it, then we, as adults, should also know.

Now, granted; it is a lot harder to show your main character's desirable traits if you're writing from first person point of view. If you often have trouble describing what you're character looks like from 1st person, try writing in third.

Now, there are several very simple techniques that can be used to give the reader an idea of main characters, but there is also a very simple rule. Let's call it the golden rule of Show, not Tell.

GOLDEN RULE: Don't tell all at once.

If you give away you're character in little snippets and bits, it's far easier for the reader to digest. Maybe you think I'm going way too deep for a simple wank story. If you write simple wank stories, then the 'most wanted list' approach is natural. But if you're struggling to make a long erotic story, or a story with a plot, then this rule will help immensely.

Here is a second example, different character.


I woke up with a start. Rachel's alarm clock was going off. I groaned and put my face back into the pillow. I fuckin HATE mondays, and my roommate has a class at eight, so I can't help but get up at the crack of dawn with her.

I eventually gave up at trying to sleep again, so I minced down the bunk bed ladder, it always gets really cold in winter. Rachel always hogs the mirror and sink, so I have learned the ancient art of braiding my hair without one. Rachel says that my hair looks better down, but I'm Irish, so I have the reddest curliest goddamn hair the world has ever seen. I have to braid it so I don't go crazy, or get the teeth of my comb lost in the ensuing tangle.

I pulled the blinds closed and quickly pulled off my pajamas and got dressed. Me and Rachel both pull on sweaters, because of the weather, and she gives my chest a longing look.

'Beth, I wish I had boobs like yours... I mean, you can't even SEE mine when I'm wearing all of this shit!'


This style of writing does take longer, another reason why the writers of quick jerk-off stories don't like to employ it. It took an extra two paragraphs, but we learned so many things, and without the awkward 'Most Wanted List' intro. We learned her name, hair color, that she goes to college, that it's winter, and even a bit of her personality. All and all, the passage reads easier, and it feels more natural.


I use several techniques to my advantage in my stories, they are all simple, and if you don't use them gratuitously often, they pay off and make the story seem more natural.

THE COMPLAINT: Men and women (women to a greater degree, but don't write off gay men...) always have complaints about their body issues. Odds are, since this is an erotica website, your main character will be incredibly attractive, but there are always little complaints that you can use to reveal more of your character's physical appearance.

A few examples


Ugh, I hate the summer. I literally CANNOT tan. I'm a redhead y'know, so all the sun ever does is make my freckles breed...

I managed to make it to forty, but my hairline is finally starting to suffer. I guess I'm lucky... but I still hate seeing it every morning. Heidi is a doll, and she always says it makes me look refined...


And so on and so forth. The complaint is a good strategy, but can only be used sparingly. If you use it too much, your main character could be everything from a little bitchy to completely insufferable.

GROOMING: I don't use this one too often, but it's almost like another version of the Complaint. It just shows a part of the main character's routine that emphasizes one of their traits. It could be anything from what hair products they use to where they have to shop.

FAWNING: This does absolutely jack-shit if you're trying to describe your narrating character, but it helps to introduce the reader to side characters. It's basically when you're main character is ogling another. Like so.


I just couldn't believe it... James was looking better then ever today... He was in his jogging shorts, and his legs were shiny from sweat, because he had been running. His blond hair always clumps into these spikes when he runs... He's so tall, I would barely reach his chest. Those amazing green eyes looked my way, and I nearly ran into a wall!

Man, do I just love my teacher's legs. I know she's older, but DAMN! She always wears these sheer stockings, and one time, I caught a glimpse of her thighs, and the lace near the top. She makes me afraid to stand up!


So, useful. Also, this technique finds a niche when you're doing multiple perspective stories.

THE STRANGER: Okay, bear with me, because this one takes a little explaining. This technique cannot be used in all stories, and it mostly works in two situations. The first situation is one where the main character has undergone some deep traumatizing event, the second is when a character is acting completely different from how they normally would.

What happens next, is they see their reflection, and they feel like they're seeing a stranger. Both of the examples I'm going to show you are ones that are in my actual stories, and not just made up on the spot.


When I opened my eyes, I could see my reflection in the casket, a feminine blonde boy with hair that was too long and dark eyes that were swollen and red from crying. I hated that boy; I hated how weak he was.

"Come back you limp-dick pansy! Come back and fuck me!"
Was that her voice? That drunken and furious slur that snarled obscenities at the demon?

Master came forward and picked up the leash from where it had dangled during the Makeover. As we left the room (me on all fours) I glimpsed my face in the mirror, and I barely recognized myself. I was smooth and naked and slender, crawling like a woman in the dirty magazines my friend carried around. My body smooth and hairless, my eyebrows arched and smooth. My eyes were a little red from crying all the time, but my mouth was full and my cheekbones high and I looked... I looked pretty. I had never seen myself in this way before. Part of me hated that pretty face surrounded by a new stylish haircut. Part of me hated the sensation of my hairless thighs whispering together as I crawled. That part of me was broken and emasculated.


So, yes. The Stranger is a technique that can only be used in very specific situations, and I hope I did a good job of explaining it. I can't use it all the time, but when I do, it works very well.

THE MAKEOVER: A simpler, easier version of The Stranger, the Makeover is often used partway through the story. Maybe the woman decides that she is going to splurge, and go to a beauty spa. Maybe one of the man's gay friends takes him shopping to get a new wardrobe. Maybe she models a new dress. Maybe he decides that dammit, he's gonna lose some weight if it's the last thing he ever does!

The Makeover is one of the nice opportunities you will have to describe yourself, without sounding like a wanted list. Your main character is so amazed by him/herself that he/she will literally just describe themselves, amazed and flattered by what they see.


They say that you're not supposed to see the bride in the gown before the wedding... My mom took it a step further and didn't even show me the gown. She literally blindfolded me when they were tailoring it, and when her and my sister were helping me get it on. They finally took it off and I gaped at the mirror in shock (insert description here)

All straight men need a gay friend. It is a little known fact in life. I only had the confidence to start flirting with women after my friend Xandir started clothes-shopping with me... He picked clothes that I thought were ridiculous, but when I tried them on, they made me look thinner. He told me that girls love red, and he must have been right, because I get more numbers when I wear the red shirt. I call it my lucky shirt!


So, again, simpler version of the Stranger, and I hope it works!

THE FAMILY: It just proves that the best way to describe yourself is to describe others. Describing the main character's sister, and then pointing out small differences works. Or maybe saying that the main character inherited (insert sexy trait here) from his dad. It's an easy way to squeeze in some characteristics, provided the family is a part of your story.


My father is lovably insane. He looks at me and my brothers, with a huge smile on his face. He says that Ian got his eyes, Ben got his voice, Joseph got his looks, then he looks at me, rubs his balding head ruefully and claims that I stole his hair. It's sort of true. He's balding, and I'm the only son that turned out blond...

I guess it's only fair that people compare me to my sister. She's so beautiful, that to compare me to her is the highest compliment that people can give. We both got the green eyes, the curly hair and creamy skin, but what she got that I didn't was the talent. I got the weight.


COMPLIMENTS: Exactly what it sounds. Have side characters compliment the main ones. A five year old could do it.


"Ohh, I wish I had skin like yours! The day I break free of puberty, Strydex stock will plummet!"

"I love your eyes, they remind me of the ocean."


Alright, that's enough with techniques... I hope that this has been helpful and informative. This is my first How To, so please tell me if it was at all helpful. Also, give me a heads up if I'm absolutely full of shit. The people reading this need to know!


Report Story

byCruel2BKind© 18 comments/ 11917 views/ 27 favorites

Share the love

Similar stories

Tags For This Story

Report a Bug

1 Pages:1

Please Rate This Submission:

Please Rate This Submission:

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Please wait
Favorite Author Favorite Story

heartDDaddysGirl23, Kitty_White and 25 other people favorited this story! 

by Anonymous

If the above comment contains any ads, links, or breaks Literotica rules, please report it.
by Anonymous05/29/17

You are spot on. I would add that there is almost never a reason to use body part measurements. They are usual ridiculous and greatly cheapen a story. Such numbers are the ultimate tell instead ofmore...

If the above comment contains any ads, links, or breaks Literotica rules, please report it.

Show more comments or
Read All 18 User Comments  or
Click here to leave your own comment on this submission!

Add a

Post a public comment on this submission (click here to send private anonymous feedback to the author instead).

Post comment as (click to select):

You may also listen to a recording of the characters.

Preview comment

Forgot your password?

Please wait

Change picture

Your current user avatar, all sizes:

Default size User Picture  Medium size User Picture  Small size User Picture  Tiny size User Picture

You have a new user avatar waiting for moderation.

Select new user avatar: