No Mirrors

Ever wondered how to convey a character’s appearance to the reader without recourse to the mirror? There are several ways; you can use dialogue or action or introspection. The best way, I find, is to have your character involved in action so that takes your reader’s focus. Meanwhile you slip in references to the character’s appearance that relate to the action. the reader gains a clear picture of the character without author intrusion.

Here is an exercise I did with my writing group. The brief was simply – No Mirrors.

Shaya cursed. She had to stop panting. She caught her breath then allowed a slow release.   She had run the moment her intuition had warned her out in the fields. Before the tramp of their feet brought dust whirling up from the road that led to her home she had raced inside but they had come so quickly. Already she heard their footsteps echo up the stairwell.

She gave thanks to the gods of contortion as she squeezed her body further into the back of the shelf above her wardrobe. These intruders might look for someone of her five foot nothing stature in her closet but she doubted they could imagine anyone squeezing into this narrow space. She gave further mental thanks to the gods of the wardrobe that she had chosen to wear her black leisure gear. That and her dark hair would further effect camouflage amongst the shadows.

Harsh voices in the corridor and then her door slammed back against the wall.

‘Her room, sir.’

Shaya did not recognise the soft, feminine voice. There was something about it though. Something from a long ago memory – that accent.

Hangers jangled below her. She heard the scrape on the metal rail as her clothes were thrust aside.

‘Not here!’

‘Sir she was ever one to live in the kitchens. She may be hidden there.’

Whoever the woman was did not know her now. Shaya’s small appetite was an everyday challenge to the cook. If there had been a god of small stomachs she would have thanked him too. Shaya’s thin body allowed her the flexibility that possibly had just saved her life.

She eased her body out of its constriction as the footsteps of the intruders raised echoes down the stairwell. She had to get up to the next floor – the secret room. She ran up the stairs three at a time. She had barely crossed the floor to the panel that covered the passage way to freedom when she heard them return – and they weren’t being quiet about it. She slipped into the dark stone space and the door slid shut just as they entered the room.

‘Why her? Why not one of the others?’

It was the woman again who asked the question.

‘The green eyes.’ The man chortled. ‘The chief wants breeding stock for his son. The eyes have it – not her size. Who’d want a dwarf!’ His tone was scathing.

Shaya stood as still as the cold stone walls around her. So they knew! The oaf race knew their secret. With the green eyes she had inherited came that power of intuition that over aeons had won survival for her people. The oafs had taken her people’s land and now they wanted her blood.





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2 responses to “No Mirrors”

  1. It’s truly a great and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you just shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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