a writing advice post: don’t describe characters’ eye colors, people don’t usually notice that in real life

me: anyway this character has pale blue eyes and this one has brownish-black and this one has sea green and you’re not my mother, you can’t make me stop

The trick is actually when you describe eye colours.

If a character is standing a good distance away from the character describing them, then unless they have massive and/or unusually vivid eyes (in which case, carry on) then no, they’re eye colour isn’t gonna be what jumps out about them.

So save it for later.

It can actually be a really moving experience to notice something pretty about another person’s eyes, the first time you’re close enough to. One of the major downsides of the ‘list format’ of description, where you just dump stuff like hair colour, eye colour, skin tone, height, built, etc in one big block, is that you lose a lot of the little human moments where people are honestly liable to pick up details about one another.

If you just tell me that, say, a character’s eyes have flecks of green in them, that’s boring. If your POV character notices the flecks of green in someone’s eyes because they’re sitting together on a couch and laughing and the light hit them just right and oh, so-and-so actually has unfairly pretty hazel eyes?

That’s a Moment™.

I think I usually mention eye color when the POV character is in love with whoever’s eyes are being described, and people in love certainly do tend to be obsessed with each other’s eyes.

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