Physical Attributes Entry: Butts

Physical description of a character can be difficult to convey—too much will slow the pace or feel 'list-like', while too little will not allow readers to form a clear mental image. If a reader cannot imagine what your character looks like, they may have trouble connecting with them on a personal level, or caring about their plight. 

One way to balance the showing and telling of physical description is to showcase a few details that really help 'tell the story' about who your character is and what they've been through up to this point. Think about what makes them different and interesting. Can a unique feature, clothing choice or way they carry themselves help to hint at their personality? Also, consider how they move their body. Using movement will naturally show a character's physical characteristics, keep the pace flowing and help to convey their emotions.


Descriptors: round, flat, huge, tiny, muscular, fat, bony, lumpy, curvy, cute, hard, tight, dimpled, hairy, pimpled, smooth, fleshy, jiggly, bouncy, firm, doughy

 rump, bottom, rear end, ass, backside, trunk, bum, derriére, fanny, gluteous maximus, posterior, tush, buttocks, cheeks, tail, keister, behind, hiney, caboose, arse

Famous References from Pop Culture: 
  • Kim Kardashian
  • Baby Got Back (Sir Mix-a-Lot)
  • Beyoncé
  • Jennifer Lopez

Simile and Metaphor Help:                         
  • He was a definite hard body. I'm pretty sure if I flicked his ass, it would ring like a bell.
  • I swung my legs out of bed and stifled a shriek. Gingerly, I poked at the wooden slabs that used to be my glutes. Must've overdone it with the lunges yesterday. 

Clichés to Avoid: smooth as a baby's bottom; butts so big you could show a movie on them; doing a job half-assed; rigid or stuck-up people described as having a pole up their ass

HINT: When describing any part of the body, try to use cues that show the reader more than just a physical description. Make your descriptions do double duty. Example: I sat carefully on the plastic chair. It creaked but held my weight as my rear end oozed over the sides like batter in a waffle iron. Someone groaned behind me. Then a snicker. I opened my history book and pretended to read.

BONUS TIP: The Colors, Textures & Shapes Thesaurus in our sidebar might help you find a fresh take on some of the descriptors listed above! 

And here's one for all of us who were alive in the 80s:


Francene Stanley said...

Great. I've never given any thought to describing butts. I'll give it a try right now. Thanks for the inspiration.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've never given much thought to butts, either. They're just there to sit on. Hmmm I need to rethink this one. :)

lindymoone said...

The first phrase my Turkish boyfriend ever taught me meant: "Your hands are like ice and your ass is like a watermelon." I married him, anyway.

PBuff said...

WHAT?? No picture??


Martha Ramirez said...

Hahhahah! LOL! Loved this! And OMG the video. Who has time to make a video like that?? Wow!!

Too funny!

Susanne Drazic said...

LOL, something I've never thought about writing about.

Becca Puglisi said...

As you can see, we're nearing the END of the physical attributes thesaurus, lol. Butts aren't something I tend to write about, either, but a thesaurus of visible physical attributes wouldn't be complete without this entry.

A Pbuff, LOL! I was too scared to troll for butt pictures, so I settled for the video instead ;).

Traci Kenworth said...

That mix-up was hilarious!! ROFL.

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

I'm loving these blog posts! I was wondering if you had plans to put them into a pdf that we could download?


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