I've been thinking a lot about my characters in my novel lately. I know what they look like in my mind and there are some certain things readers need to know about them. The main character is pretty but likes to hide herself in an unkempt exterior. The skater wears holey jeans and is buffed somewhere under those baggy clothes. The football player can barely fit his legs under the dinky school desk.
But there's this fine line. I want readers to fill in the way the characters look in their imaginations. (I know, this is assuming there will be readers. Humor me.) I'm not sure I want to mention what shade their hair is, the color of their eyes, or even the tone of their skin. These characters could be any kids at any school. Maybe you know someone like them or maybe they're doing things you don't even realize people their age do. Either way, I want readers to see these characters as people they would know. Their colors don't really matter.
Yet, books need description. Readers need to be able to see these characters clearly. I'm a little torn on how far I'll go in describing the ways my characters look. Hopefully I can give enough description so readers can see them, but not so much that I overpower the reader's imaginations. I'm sure I'll be putting descriptions in, and taking them out, and putting them in, and taking them out...hopefully I'll be able to find a balance that is just right.