Thursday, February 5, 2009

Revealing Character (Characterization II)

Now that we have learned that there are four traits to a well-rounded character, how do we go about revealing these to the reader? The last thing we want to do is to present them, in other words how do we show the character's traits rather than tell the reader what they are. Novelists actually employ as many as 16 techniques to reveal character and to develop characters who are three-dimensional and well-rounded. This series of posts will look at each of these in detail. However, before we can effectively discuss them we must know what they are.

Character can be revealed by:

  1. Conflict with the environment
  2. By Action
  3. Through self-discovery and Self-Realization
  4. Through Motivated Action
  5. Character Tags: These tags may be physical, appearance, mannerism, habit and favorite expressions
  6. For minor characters, emphasizing a single dominant trait
  7. Contrasting characters
  8. Names
  9. Conflict
  10. Moments of truth
  11. Confession
  12. Giving a person a choice
  13. Exposition
  14. Description
  15. Narration
  16. Action

Obviously, I can't cover all of these methodologies in one or two posts, so I'm off on another series of them.

Next up: Discussion of methods 1 through 4.

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