Guest Blogger: Crimson Haired Mage

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Guest Blogger: Crimson Haired Mage

by Jenna Busch

Stop describing people by the color of their hair!!!

I have been seduced by the crack. The World of War-crack, of course. I have recently discovered Outland, I own a stuffed, talking Murloc...no one could accuse me of doing anything halfway. So it's hardly a surprise that I hit my local used book store and snatched up every World of Warcraft novel I could get my hot little hands on. I got a ton, but I decided to start with the War of the Ancients novels, by Richard A. Knaak. Look, I've never written a novel. It's a bit outside of my talent area. But I read constantly. You'll never find me without a book in my hand. Since I've pretty much cleared out the science fiction/fantasy section, I feel somewhat qualified to say this. Stop describing people by the color of their hair! If you tell me that a wizard has red hair, rest assured that I will believe you. And I will remember. But this guy thinks I'm stupid. Every time he mentions the character of Rhonin, a, you guessed it, red-haired wizard, he has a new way to let me know.

“Crimson tressed spell caster...”
“...his fiery hair hung disheveled...”
“from under his thick, fiery hair...”

Ya know what? I think the guy is a redhead. Rhonin is the worst of the lot, but he does it with other characters. Vereesa the elf is the “silver haired ranger” (also a reference to her “lengthy silver hair”). The dragons are “crimson behemoths (this is said ad nauseam),” “black goliaths,” “ebony clad companions,” (when they morph into humans) red leviathans.

“...red-haired mage...”
“The fiery haired human...”
“...red-haired Rhonin...”

I remember my English teacher telling us to be descriptive. “Paint a picture,” she said. I'm fairly certain she didn't mean that literally. So, please stop telling me what color everyone's hair is. Please. Put down the thesaurus and back away.

“...scarlet-haired spell caster...”
“...red-haired wizard...”

Please.

Jenna Busch is a writer of all things geek for SCI FI Wire, JoBlo, Huffington Post, UGO, IGN and Forces of Geek. A New York transplant living in Los Angeles, Jenna has been on many sides of the entertainment industry. Makeup artist, (don't stand too close, or she'll glue something to you) actor, (stopped because she felt that replacing body parts with silicone was the first step towards becoming a cyborg) and finally writing, which allows her to work in her pajamas.


Follow Jenna on Twitter: twitter.com/jennabusch

2 comments:

  1. I think this is another argument for writers not treating the reader as an idiot. If you establish the look of a character you don't need to beat it into our heads. Let us know if something changes, the expression on their face, the grimace when they take a wound, the triumphant yell of victory.

    Oh and could the pick a different color? I'm partial to the "Warlock with the blue streaked tresses."

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  2. the sad part is, someone commissioned this author to write the book... so either they need to take control of their author(s) or they need to find an editor who's got a clue, because that shit is unacceptable

    ReplyDelete

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