|Courtesy of Nicholas_T|
Physical description of a character can be difficult to convey—too much will slow the pace or feel 'list-like', while too little will not allow readers to form a clear mental image. If a reader cannot imagine what your character looks like, they may have trouble connecting with them on a personal level, or caring about their plight.
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.
Things Legs Do (and other words/phrases to describe those actions)
- Move: run, walk, jog, stride, sprint, pump, piston, leap, jump, dash, dart, lope, trot, pummel
- Dance: boogie, cavort, careen, hop, jive, frolic, prance, caper, jitter
- Nervousness: tingle, tremble, shiver, quiver, shake, shift, cross/uncross, pace
- Terror: give out, collapse, bolt, run, seize, go limp, lose strength, wobble
- Excitement: jitter, bounce, jump
Simile and Metaphor Help:
- Her legs were as shaky as a new colt’s.
- Adrenaline flooded my body, turning my scrawny legs to pistons.
Clichés to Avoid: legs like tree trunks, toothpicks, or chicken legs
Example: Jenna’s legs were all muscle, pushing and pulling and working with no sign of fatigue. Right now, she was just running a treadmill; if she ever had to escape a psychotic lunatic, my money was on Jenna.