I had very good dentures once. Some magnificent gold work. It’s the only form of jewelry a man can wear that women fully appreciate. ~Graham Greene
As we continue dressing our characters for success, let’s investigate the importance of accessorizing. Just as a higher heel can give a woman a more feminine and vulnerable look, the perfect costume accessory can add another layer to our characters. Next week, we’ll look at accessories like jewelry, purses, canes, etc. But for now, let’s think beyond the typical rings and bracelets and take a look at how accessorizing the bodies of our characters can help them become characterization billboards. Let’s accessorize with SCARS.
-SCARS of their profession – athletes, soldiers, construction workers, etc. get hurt, either by the actions of others or because of their own mistakes. In the new Star Trek movie, little Spock gets into a fight at school. In the next scene, the camera catches him sitting on a bench, waiting for his father to come get him. In a brilliant move, the director had a makeup artist give Spock the accessory of a bloodied lip. The camera zooms in on that lip and without a word of dialogue; a layer of hurt is added to the conflicted Vulcan.
-SCARS of their past – intravenous drug users have needle tracks in their veins; a meth addict may be missing some teeth; or someone who’s tried to kill themselves has scarred wrists; even tattoos can give insight into backstory. One woman had a butterfly tattooed on her stomach during college. Years later, after having several kids, she bemoaned the fact that her beautiful butterfly had become a terrradactyl. These accessory scars are artifacts of previous life, a constant reminder of our past. Taking the time to incorporate them into your characters, gives your character a reference point, something to revisit, or drag their finger over when they want to consider how far they’ve come.
-SCARS of their position –the patches on uniforms denote our status, or lack thereof. Remember the letter jacket worn by the captain of your high school football team? Every badge called attention to his achievements.
Join us next week for more on accessorizing your characters.