I’ve gotten stuck recently on one of my secondary characters. With my main characters, I seem to have flushed out their personalities in the voice and descriptions I’ve put down. I can actually see these characters in my mind. They’ve become my friends. That sounds a bit strange, but I think it’s a good sign I’ve nailed the emotions of each in my story.
I have a grandmother who steps into the story every so often and is pivotal in one scene. I couldn’t nail down here physical characteristics other than she is in her 60’s. Dress? Hair style? I just wasn’t sure but thought I could make her presence stronger by tossing in a few characteristics to make her more memorable. My own grandmothers passed away, one when I was quite young and the other while I was in school.
While visiting one of the stock photo sites for another project, I typed in “Grandmother” and back came pictures of thousands of grandma’s with all sorts of looks. I found my character with a styled hair cut and a smart looking gray and white scarf loosely tied around her neck. Her oval glasses partially hid the tired look around her eyes. I finally had a face I could write about and it didn’t cost me a dime.
So take note… if you need to see a character you have in a story or want to find a character to write about, try one of these sites. They are free to search and browse:
(Google works well too. Type in a character description and then click on images.)