Grab your free Character Profile Worksheet at the end of this post.
When writing fiction, it’s important to have a clear picture of what your characters look like. You'll also need to invent their inner and outer conflicts and desires, emotional makeup, social connections, and other specifics, but figuring our their physical characteristics is a good place to start.
Knowing what each character looks like is important so you can:
Refer to them consistently: You don’t want Brad to be a brunette on page 4 and a blond on page 40.
Make sure their physical qualities make sense in the larger plot: You don’t want Brenda to have seven missing toes from an old fishing accident on page 4 and then be an expert ballerina balancing on toe shoes on page 40.
Thank goodness there’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help. If you need inspiration for your characters' looks, check out the website This Person Does Not Exist. Every time you refresh the page, the AI will create a realistic-ish portrait of a person who, as the title suggests, does not exist in real life. Just keep refreshing until you find one you like to inspire your character.
Sometimes you find wannabe characters that look like people you would actually write about.
For instance, this guy could be your handsome protagonist, right?
Maybe he could even have her as his love interest?
And this guy could certainly be a supporting character, don't you think?
But sometimes the AI doesn't get it quite right, and the results are creepy, to say the least. For instance, occasionally it takes the top half of a child’s face and pastes to the lower half of an obvious adult like this:
Or it won’t get the teeth quite right.