For months I've been trying to write a character description for Tawny Lester from Monstrous. I've never written a character quite like her before, and I had been struggling to get it right. I tried it multiple ways and nothing worked. Writing it in the first person didn't feel right. Using her clothes to describe her would have worked if I hadn't gotten stuck on her coat. Doing a simple here she is, this is what she looks like felt to staged.
I don't usually write in the third person, but since I'd tried everything else I finally decided to give it a try despite the fact that the actual story was in the first person. Here's what I came up with. If you have an opinion or suggestion please post it in the comments. It will be greatly appreciated.
At first glance she looked normal enough. She was short and skinny, but she still had muscle on her bones and that was more than some could say. Two years ago she had been accused of being pale and pasty looking, but no one said that about her now. Now they’d just glance over her sun burned and weathered skin and nod as if to say “you earned it didn’t you?” She’d look back at them for a moment, expressionless, uncaring as if to say “why should I care what you think?” Then she’d move on.
In short on the surface at least she was just like everyone else: older than she was and too tired to care.
But there was something about her that made them uncomfortable, but they couldn’t put their finger on it. It could have been the reflective sun glasses that no one had ever seen her take off. It might have been the black scarf perpetually draped over her hair. Then again it may have been the fact that her clothes matched or that her knee high lace up black boots had heels.
There wasn’t anyway to tell for sure. Maybe it was all that. Maybe it was none of that. Maybe it was that a part of them suspected what she already knew: there was something horribly wrong with Tawny Lester, and she was fine with it.