My editor was halfway through my novel when she commented, “I just realized that I don’t know what Kathryn looks like.” She doesn’t know, because I don’t say. The reason I didn't say was because most of the early chapters are from Kathryn’s point of view. And those that aren’t, well they are from a man’s POV.
Would a man really think about, or even notice, the color of a woman’s eyes or the texture of her hair if they weren’t romantically involved? What if they've been married for ten years, and he's clearly not in love with her, would he think about her looks? I don’t think so.
Do I need Kathryn’s description, or can I allow the reader to imagine what the she looks like?
If I need it, how do I slip it in? Her focus is all about the investigation, not about her looks. She looks in the mirror, but that is a major no no.
I’ve also heard that if you plan to describe your character to do it early, so the readers hasn't already formed a conflicting mental picture. The first possibility wouldn't be until the seventh chapter.
The plan for my novel is the big screen. Dream big I always say. In this case, is it better to not restrict the image of the main characters physically? I’ve seen movies, after I've read the book, and thought they ruined it because they didn’t cast the parts correctly—undoubtedly because of character descriptions in the book.
Does the genre make a determination in the necessity of character description? My novel is a thriller, and all about the action. How important is what Kathryn looks like, verses her character and actions?
I’m coming close to the end of my final edits. Battling “how too” squeeze in a description, without it being forced. The jury is still out if I need to or not. The agent who wants to read it again did not comment on this issue. Is it an issue? What do you think?
Thank you for your help!
Enjoy the journey~