Friday, March 18, 2011

What You CanTell About Characters By Their Clothing Descriptions

And rolling on with the brief interlude of a fashion theme, here's what the types of clothing a character's wearing on his or her introduction can generally suggest about their role in the story:

1) "Neat," "crisp," or "well cared for" attire: Pretty much the same assumptions you would make about anyone who is snappily dressed in real life; this person is professional, efficient, and pragmatic. If it is a man, he's probably a bit of a prat. This person is very focused on the day to day and keeping things under control. Case in point: Watson (Sherlock Holmes books)

2) Fashionable man: Also known as a dandy or a fop. This man is t.r.o.u.b.le. He'll probably have a gambling problem, or harass random girls. Or have a secret painting stashed in his attic through which he ages vicariously. Watch out. Case in Point: Dorian Grey (The Portrait of Dorian Grey)

3) Fashionable lady: Either the protagonist, the protagonist's best friend, or the villian. If the fashionableness is showy, like Miranda Priestly or Anne Boleyn, she's a villian. If its tasteful, she's probably more of a good guy. She probably has a high opinion of herself, in any case. Case in Point: Emma (Emma)

4) Messy man: Probably some one either you or the protagonist will fall in love with. He's probably intellectual. Probably complicated. Probably romantic. Case in Point: Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities)

5) Anything "nondescript": CRAZY MOTHER ^%*&#*(!!!!! This person is either an assassin or a serial killer or undercover royalty. Maybe he or she is a witch or a god. The point is, anyone you're "not supposed to notice," you absolutely, absolutely ARE. Case in Point: Dr. H. H. Holmes (The Devil in the White City)

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