F.C. Malby: a great resource for writers!
Characterisation is an important part of bringing the reader into the world of your story. It helps to make the characters real and will keep the pages turning. When the reader knows your character they try to predict how he or she will respond in any situation you place them in. With good characterisation the reader will want to know exactly how your character behaves and feels and why. This can be done using direct or indirect characterisation.
Authors often give us direct characterisation and state attributes of a character – ‘Megan was stubborn and independent, never accepting help from anyone.’ This tells us instantly what she is like.
Indirect characterisation can be more subtle, leaving the reader to figure out what the character is like. This can be done in several ways so we’re going to take a look at dialogue, body language and the responses of other characters:
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