Characterization: The Creation or Construction of a Fictional Charater Allissa Hupp

What books have you read had great characters? What characters were they (main character, the best friend, etc.)? WHY were they great characters?

Characters: Books with the best and the worst

  • Why do you think some of these books are on a list for strong characters?
  • Why do you think some of these books are on a list for weak characters?
  • Do you disagree with any of these choices? WHY?

Why is CHARACTERIZATION important?

The characters keep the readers invested in your story. If the characters in your story do not seem real or interesting, the reader will not become invested in your story. They will lose interest. Good characterization allows your characters to feel alive, real, and most importantly, believable.


  • You can give the reader explicit details about your character: "Jimmy's brown hair blew in the wind."
  • In that sentence, we could see that Jimmy has brown hair, and it is long enough to blow in the wind.
  • OR you could be more subtle about your character's details- "Jimmy's extra hair-tie cut off the circulation of his wrist as the other one attempted to keep his chocolate colored locks out of his face."

Discuss: Which of these two sentences seems the most interesting? Which one seems to tell you the most about Jimmy? Why?

3 minutes

The second sentence seems the most interesting because it gives us the most details. We can INFER that Jimmy has long hair because he carries hair ties. We can also INFER that Jimmy's hair is coming undone because of the wind, because it says his hair tie is "struggling" to keep his hair out of his face. We can also INFER that Jimmy likes chocolate (or at least dessert) because that's how he describes his hair.

The first sentence was an example of DIRECT CHARACTERIZATION because the writer DIRECTLY told the reader what was going on. The second sentence was an example of INDIRECT CHARACTERIZATION because there were more details to infer about the character.

Some more on Characterization:


  1. Looks
  2. Speech
  3. Relationships
  4. Actions
  5. Thoughts

An article for some good examples of characterization

An article for background and more information on characterization

The STEAL Method

  • S: says
  • T: thinks
  • E: effect on others
  • A: actions
  • L: looks


  • You will be writing 2 SHORT stories (around 400 words) for this assignment. One short story will be with BAD characterization, and the other story will be with GOOD characterization.
  • These two stories will be about THE SAME THING
  • You will essentially be writing the same story, just one with good characterization and one with bad characterization
  • You can use the STEAL method, or you can use that as a reference for creating your good characterization
  • Use the rest of the class time to work on this, DUE TOMORROW AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS
  • We will begin our next class by reading these at our tables and deciding which stories have good characterization and which ones have bad characterization, and WHY.
Created By
Allissa Hupp


Created with images by PDPics - "stick figure stickman smiley" • Phine Rhoc'z - "Clock" • NikolayFrolochkin - "diary the note notebook" CharacterizationChart:

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