One thing I always find interesting about creating characters and telling stories is how perception of those characters varies greatly between my mind and the readers’ minds.
When it comes to writing characters, I tend to be fairly vague. I like to give just enough information so that readers can get a general idea of how I think the characters look–but not so much that the reader’s imagination is rendered useless. I think readers appreciate that, but sometimes, I think some readers want every little detail they can get. I love both types of readers and understand both ways of thinking. However, I’ll probably continue to be pretty vague about my characters’ appearances.
One character in particular that I recently found out a lot of readers have opinions about is “Oma/Esther Jean Wagner” from the ‘Jacob Michaels Is‘ series.
Fun Fact: “Oma” is not her name. “Oma” means “grandma/grandmother” in German. Her name is “Esther Jean Wagner,” just in case anyone was confused.
Some readers saw her as a more wiry “Daisy May ‘Granny’ Moses,” while others saw her as more of a rotund, fun-to-hug older woman. My personal idea of what she looks like falls somewhere between. I always felt that maybe age had caused her to put on a few pounds (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) but was still feisty and managed physical tasks better than well for a nearly seventy-year-old person.
Some readers thought she wore glasses. Some thought she had a particular color of hair. There were a lot of ideas about Oma. I’m honestly not too surprised–besides “Ian” from ‘A Surplus of Light,’ she is probably the biggest fan favorite character of mine. And for good reason! Who doesn’t love a foul-mouthed older woman who will tell you the truth whether or not you want to hear it…but also give you a hug and a hearty meal when she’s done? Oma is probably my favorite character to write. Her interactions with Rob/Jacob make me smile. I would write a whole book of dialogue between the two of them if I thought it would work as a story. Also, in ‘Jacob Michaels Is Tired,’ her interaction with Mr. Jackson Barkley at Barkley’s Hardware was one of my favorites to write and reread (though I only reread my own work as much as necessary, so I’m not a good judge).
So, I want readers to know that my idea of what a character looks like will probably not be the same as what you think that they look like. And that’s okay. I don’t mind at all. I want readers to see what they want when they read my books–make the story even more meaningful to themselves. I just hope that you enjoy them and you are entertained.
Tremendous Love & Thanks,