My current writing class assignment is to write a sketch, 240 words or less, describing a character. We are to write an external description, with details one can get only by observing the character - there is to be no dialogue, internal thoughts, or interaction with others.
This is not truthful - it's a fantasy - but it's based on a person I actually saw in my local supermarket yesterday:
She stood by the yogurt case, basket over one arm, considering flavors. She wore a 50’s style circle-skirt, cotton sateen in a pink-and-black “Hello Kitty” print. She selected four containers of Yoplait on sale at four for $3, then continued down the aisle. As she turned, the skirt twirled out, floating above her still-shapely calves and her black patent ballet flats. Her matronly waist was cinched by a wide belt, closed with a rhinestone buckle. Her black leotard top had a modest jewel neckline, but stretched tightly over her substantial bosom.
Pausing in the cat-food aisle, one hand idly touched up her dyed garnet up-do, which sadly revealed the grey tresses at the roots. Two 12-can cases of Fancy Feast went into the basket – Elegant Medley Tuscany Collection, and Gourmet Ocean Seafood. That finished, she made her way to the liquor department, where she glanced over her shoulder cautiously before slipping a pint bottle of Popov vodka into the vast recesses of her leopard print tote. She sashayed up to the checkout stand, her confident smile marred only slightly by a touch of lipstick on her teeth.