Characterization an Overview

Characterization an Overview
Everything we know about other people comes through one or more of our five senses. Some say the inner expresses the outer. I say, not always.

When writing we have a lot more freedom, or should I say opportunities to learn about others. Not only do we learn as an author introduces their characters through our senses, but we also can learn about them through their thoughts. A privilege we don’t have in real life.

Writers sometimes create detailed biographies of their main characters to get to know them deeply. This allows them to present the small amount they show us with incredible insight. I use detailed biographies for my main characters and I highly recommend it to you, if you have not tried that route before.

This biographical sketch does not reveal the inner workings of the character, or in other words what type of person he or she truly is. That part of development is covered in my Character section.

What is involved in full characterization?

In essence we have the social, physical, and psychological. Each one can be divided as follows:


Body type and shape


Moral value


Religious Beliefs
Political Views
Economic Class

The direct method of characterization is through dialogue. There are many different facets to this which I will cover in another article dedicated to that.

Next, we have direct and indirect character presentation.

Direct Character Presentation:

These include appearance, thought, speech, and action.

Indirect character presentation:

Interpretation through another character or the author.

Your creative writing will only be as good as the characters you develop who move in it and move your readers. Your readers want your characters to be interesting and believable. Otherwise, your work will not be read all the way through.

In addition, one of the most important aspects of the characters you develop is the capacity for the reader to care about them. Only when they care about them will they keep turning the pages. Only when they care about them will they remember your characters, your work, and you as the writer as well.

To make your characters full, you should employ a variety of these techniques. This will also insure that you don’t create flat characters that don’t move readers.

I have written several articles that will cover each of the above techniques in detail. Have fun playing around with each of them as you create your characters for your next project.

Happy Writing!

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