PHYSICAL FEATURE THESAURUS

SICKLY BUILD



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HELPFUL TIP:

Physical features should do more than simply describe how a character looks. Just like their occupation or area of giftedness, a character's appearance can say a great deal about them. Hinting at traits through clothing choices, alluding to an emotional state through movements, and highlighting certain details for comparison or contrast purposes can help readers form opinions on who the character really is.
DESCRIPTORS AND KEY ELEMENTS:
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SIMILE AND METAPHOR EXAMPLES:
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CLICHÉS TO AVOID:
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TWISTING THE STEREOTYPE:
  • The sickly type is usually portrayed as a small person with a slight build, the kind of person born frail and destined to become ill one day. Why not write a character who starts out brawny and tough, and show readers his transformation as he succumbs to an illness or disorder?
  • One of the hardest parts of being sick is the time that comes before diagnosis. Feeling terrible and not knowing why births worry and brings mortality into focus. If you have a sickly character, don’t forget the psychological effects his condition will have on his personality and his outlook on life.
  • Illness is terrifying because it can strike without warning and progress quickly. Show the contrast of sudden frailty on a driven character with big goals. Show how this sudden affliction forces him to work within new limitations. If he can still hang on to his drive to succeed despite physical weakness, readers will cheer for him all the more.

PEOPLE LIKELY TO HAVE THIS BUILD:
Those suffering from a chronic illness or disease
The elderly
The poverty-stricken and malnourished
Prisoners of war
Victims of crime and abuse
Drug addicts

FAMOUS EXAMPLES:
Amy Winehouse
Macaulay Culkin
Michael Jackson

OTHER THOUGHTS ON THIS BODY TYPE:
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