I was reading today and came across this character description that struck me as being so much better than anything I do (bonus points to anyone who can tell us where this is from without having to Google it!):
"Her pretty little upper lip, shadowed with a barely perceptible down, was too short for her teeth and, charming as it was when lifted, it was even more charming when drawn down to meet her lower lip. As always with extremely attractive women, her defect--the shortness of her upper lip and her half-open mouth--seemed to be her own distinctive kind of beauty. Everyone took delight in watching this pretty little woman, brimming with health and vitality, who, soon to become a mother, bore her burden so lightly. After being in her company and talking to her for a while, old men and somber, apathetic young men felt themselves becoming, like her, more animated. Talking to her, and seeing at every word her bright smile and flashing white teeth, made a man feel that he was in a particularly amiable humor that evening. And this was true of everyone."
Never mind that part of the reason I was struck by this description was that it reminded me in a fashion of how I feel about my wife, this passage showed the advantage that omniscient has over close 3rd. In close 3rd when you already know someone well, especially if it is a spouse or one of your children, you have no realistic reason to be thinking about them in such descriptive terms, and after all close 3rd is supposed to be strictly about what the POV character is thinking or seeing or sensing at any given moment. A husband is more likely to focus only on something that stands out, such as if his wife had a smear of blood on her cheek or something of the sort. He's unlikely to give a full-on description of someone he sees every day of his life.
|My lovely wife--who lights up any room she enters--preparing for a dinner party in Beijing|
So, I tend not to describe in much detail, but I am trying to learn how to do better. I am trying to keep this in mind while reading close 3rd stories, looking for brilliant passages that can give me clues as to how to do better. What are your thoughts?