Friday, June 25

Edible Characters

There are plenty of different ways to physically describe characters. Writers zoom in on eye colour, hair and height, and also: skin colour.

The point of view in your story and the setting will determine how or whether skin tone is mentioned. A lot of the time, characters aren't described as being "white," they're just presumed to be, unless stated otherwise. I'm not pointing any fingers here and I'm not proclaiming to be perfect. I'm always wondering when and how to describe a character's complexion.

Characters who are "white" are usually not described as such, unless they are a minority. White characters might be described as "tanned" or "sun-kissed" or "freckled." That's about it.

Then there are characters who have their skin colour described using words like coffee, cappuccino, chocolate, olive, cocoa, honey, caramel. Two things pop to mind - at least subconsciously - when I read this. They are: Not white and I'm hungry.

Seriously, is the only way to describe skin colour without offending anyone on an epic scale to make my tummy rumble and take a mental note to buy toffee? I know pale is "in" right now but when is someone going to write a freckled character and relate him to nougat?

Do you find yourself noticing any edible characters in the books your read?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, this!! Why are skin colours described so edibly? It is a bit hard to describe the colour of a character's skin sometimes, though, so I guess I can't blame authours TOO much...