I'm writing a story and I need to describe the character's appearance. My character is wearing a football jersey and running on the field, so how can I describe this better? This is what I came up with:

Aiden watched the player with number ten written boldly on his football shirt running on the football field.

I need to make this better and I need ideas and help. I know it sounds ridiculous but English is not my first language and that's why I'm struggling with it. Thank you :)

5 Answers 5


Do not say "written boldly", everybody knows what a "football shirt" looks like.

A "football shirt" is a "jersey", the reader will know it is a football jersey by any single mention of football.

Aiden watched the boy with jersey number 10 running on the football field.

+1 Morgan. To expand, if you want something better than the neutral "watched", try "admired" or some other word for observation that conveys some kind of intent or emotion.

"analyzed", for example, or "recognized", or "was impressed by the speed of", or "was amused by the awkward run of". More words do not hurt if they convey some kind of emotional impact, and "watched" does not.

The same applies to his "run"; the word is very neutral, but if it is going to have any impact on Aiden, it could be better characterized somewhere on the scale of incompetent to astonishing, or unique, or recognized as being a particular person she knows. But for plausibility's sake, it should not be on the rail at either extreme unless this running ability is a critical plot point (as it was in Forrest Gump).


Try using more visual details for the reader. Incorporate multiple senses. How does the jersey look, besides the number? How is the player running? Is he quick or lumbering? Describe the player: what's his body shape? And how is Aiden watching this: with surprise, regret, envy, admiration?

Basically, pretend you are describing the scene to a friend who is at the game, but is visually impaired or blind. How can you give that person the experience of the game without her seeing it?

http://www.wright.edu/~david.wilson/eng1100/sensorydetails.pdf for some helpful hints.

As many an English teacher says, "Don't tell me; show me."


You have tons of options, depending on the context and the purpose of that sentence:

  • If we already know the scene is at a football field, then "Aiden watched Number Ten running on the field." ("Football" is redundant.)

  • If we already know the character Aiden is watching the activities at the football field, then "Number Ten ran on the field." ("Aiden watched" and "football" are redundant.)

  • If Number Ten isn't part of the story, then you could even delete the whole sentence. Or "Aiden sat in the bleachers watching the game."


There are many ways to approach this, but here are a few thoughts I had reading your question:

  • Definitely use "football jersey" rather than "football shirt"
  • Describe not just what the clothing is but how it is - does it fit tightly, or is it loose? Are the colors bright or faded? Does it appear worn-out or dirty, or freshly washed?
  • Pay attention to how the character is running, and describe it in a way that says something about the eyes through which you're seeing him run. Does he sprint, charge, jog, or pant, etc?
  • try to avoid using adverbs a lot (like "boldly" - if you have others in surrounding context, this one could probably go).

Hope this is helpful!



I'd include something that describes the running of number 10, their strength, their speed, how they interact with other players, the sweat that would be obvious if it's mid game and the sounds of the crowd, the hush that falls when people anticipate changes to the score, their disappointment or cheers, how big the crowd is, what time of day is it, what the weather is like - really bring the whole area to life,

No 10

Their reactions to these changes, if there's some previous injury they're concerned about affecting them and their performance, if there's someone in the crowd they want to impress like talent scouts, friends, family or a love interest, how long they've been part of the team, if they're a seasoned pro or not.


Their reactions to the scene, if they have history with the players, why they're watching No. 10 specifically, who they're rooting for, why, if this is their fist game, where in the crowd they are, are they with friends, colleagues, do they even like the game or are they just supporting someone they care about, are they just a supporter or do they have a specific role, such as being a manager, talent scout, reporter...

  • Welcome to Writing.SE secrets! Those are interesting aspects you mention. I'd recommend keeping an eye on your punctuation and learning a thing or two from the help box that is at the top of the writing box when you are writing an answer or question - markdown can be weird at first, but good formatting, punctuation and capitalization makes it a whole lot easier to read. More readers = more people who can benefit from your answers/questions. If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun!
    – Secespitus
    Feb 3, 2018 at 23:51

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