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How to Describe a Character’s Home

1164769_ideal_houseA character’s home provides the opportunity to tell us a lot about him/her without narrative. People decorate their homes in ways that make them comfortable with life.

Corny though it may be, a home is your character’s castle. The interior might relax him, motivate, be his hide-out from humanity and the threats of the world. It will always reflect their values, beliefs, family, passions.

These are all interiors I’ve read from other authors. I’ve covered descriptions of neighborhoods here.

  • No heat? There is heat, but it’s unavailable.
  • Uses his exercise bike as a clothes rack
  • Doors were hollow core. The finish work was minimal, mostly quarter round molding. The floors were plywood, covered wall to wall with inexpensive tan carpeting which didn’t wear well, but showed the dirt easily. The furniture was fresh from the warehouse
  • No sound in the house, not even the sounds that houses make: air-conditioning, or furnace, or the stairwell creaking, or the frig cycling on; nothing but silence
  • Back when home was more than a TV and a microwave
  • gathered the whole mess and shifted it to the alarmingly large pile tilting dangerously

 

  • Locked in shadow in a corner of the room
  • Brown plaid sofa with heavy oak arms, a bookcase neatly stocked with paperbacks, family pictures on one wall, a china cabinet against another.
  • Floors and walls were polished stone
  • My Writing Area: My computer faces out the window. I like having the sky and buildings in the background. Occasionally a bird or plane flies by in the distance. To my far left is my 42″ flatscreen TV (size does matter), which often displays my daily dose of CNN or Grey’s Anatomy. Next to that is my Buddhist altar, which I need to make better use of. To my right is a framed poster displaying a poem of mine that had been on Chicago buses and trains. And to the far right is a black and white picture of Grand Central Station with wide beams of light gushing in through the windows. The beams look like they are about to make the commuters levitate at any minute and float skyward.
  • Out My Window: This is my first time living in a hi-rise. It’s cool. I’m on the 14th floor. In warmer weather, I go to sleep as kids play baseball in the park below me. And out my window to the right is part of Lake Michigan and Lakeshore Drive.
  • Small with clean white walls, a twin bed, a desk with a blank blotter on it, sliding closets opposite the bed, and thin green shag carpet.

For more descriptors for characters and settings, click here.



Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blogger, Technology in Education featured blogger, and IMS tech expert. She is  the editor of a K-6 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculumK-6 Digital Citizenship curriculum, creator of technology training books for middle school and ebooks on technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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11 thoughts on “How to Describe a Character’s Home

  1. Love it, in one of my stories I have a wall full of animal trophy’s goats deers etc really creepy, I still don’t like that sort of stuff but it sets a mood. Thanks Jacqui a good reminder to make sure the house suits the character.

  2. I love when the place, especially a home, is a character in the story. Pat Conroy, Joyce Carol Oates, and Rebecca Wells are especially good at describing homes. I can still feel the homes their characters lived in years after I read the stories.

  3. Pingback: How to Describe Your Character’s Home II | Jacqui Murray's WordDreams...

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