Authors often forget their manners when a new character enters the scene. The reader wants a brief introduction. We don’t need long, entangled descriptive paragraphs, just a little something to give us a quick visual.
Here is an example:
Samuel pulled up his breeches, which had a habit of slipping below his protruding belly. He hitched them high above his waistline, as if to give them plenty of sliding room. (The Doctor’s Lady, by Jody Hedlund)
We all know someone who habitually pulls up his trousers and get an image in our mind of what the character looks like—an introduction.
Here’s another example where the author introduces a new character, mirroring information about another:
By the time Hart showed up, I’d finished my wine as well as the contents of the bread basket. My first impression was that he was utterly exhausted: ashen-faced, pale-lipped, a quietly aging man. I was looking tired myself these days, the bags beneath my eyes worse than usual. (Good Things I Wish You, by A. Mannette Ansay)
As authors, we are always looking for unique and unusual ways to pull our readers into the story. Description can do that as long as it is not overdone. Next time you are writing a novel or memoir and a new character enters the scene, make sure you do the polite thing. Introduce your character to the reader using something unique like the examples above.