|photo credit: shannonkringen via photopin cc|
One way to balance the showing and telling of physical description is to showcase a few details that really help 'tell the story' about who your character is and what they've been through up to this point. Think about what makes them different and interesting. Can a unique feature, clothing choice or way they carry themselves help to hint at their personality? Also, consider how they move their body. Using movement will naturally show a character's physical characteristics, keep the pace flowing and help to convey their emotions.
Descriptors: shaped, trimmed, painted, glittery, decorated, colorful, glossy, tiny, thick, yellowed, rounded, curved, shiny, short, hangnail, long, broken, peeling, bejeweled, clawed, dirty, thick, brittle, ingrown, pedicured, smooth
Things Toenails Do (and other words/phrases to describe those actions)
- Toenails, unlike other parts of the body, don't actively "do" much. Their main function is to protect the toes from injury. People may use them to scratch at an itchy part on their leg, and women often showcase them in summer months by painting them fashionably.
Key Emotions Related to Toenails:
- Worry: because of the almost universal feeling that feet are not overly attractive, men and women are generally self conscious about their feet and so take care to keep their toenails clean and healthy when they are visible to others (sandal season, going to the pool, etc.)
- Pride: Painted toenails for women are a source of pride, good fashion sense and femininity. Many will keep their nails painted year around to make their feet appear more attractive.
- Janice's toenails flashed bright against the sand--a scatter of rubies dropped from a pirate's treasure chest.
- Demi's red and black toenails lined up like a row of lady bugs.
Clichés to Avoid:
- None that I can think of!
Jenny walked across the ballroom, each step deliberate and slow, drawing all eyes to her. From the diamond hair clips holding back her thick blond hair to the glossy gold metallic toenails peeking out of her three inch Prada sandals, she was every bit the wealthy, well-bred society girl.
BONUS TIP: The Colors, Textures & Shapes Thesaurus in our sidebar might help you find a fresh take on some of the descriptors listed above!