Ron’s Lit Tip Characterization

Ron’s Tip of the Day is now Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at characterization.

What is characterization?

Basically, it is giving your character depth. There are many ways to do this and we will examine a few.

Education

This is one of the ways you can define a character. A person’s education is revealed in how that person talks, acts, and dresses. I’ll talk about speech later, but right now we’ll talk about how persons act. Some writers will let you see the character’s timidity, boorishness, and rudeness. It lets the reader know some important facts. But it requires consistency.

Same is true with how the character dresses. As a general rule, you don’t want a character to be dressed like a tramp one moment and a professor the next, unless that is part of the story. Again, you want consistency.

Physique

This is the character’s build, hair, eyes, skin color, and more. It is the physical part. It may or may not be a major part of the story, but that word consistency applies again. Unless you are dealing in miracles, it is not good to have a weak looking character performing feats of great strength. You also want believability.

Speech

Here is a place where you can differentiate. You can just have normal speech with no distinguishing details, or you can go into great detail, including language. I don’t favor ethnicity. I make no attempt to make my characters sound Spanish, French, or German. However, I can see scenes where a character cannot speak English. Then language would have to be shown. However, I have used a lisp (Serpent in Perished) and a specific saying associated with a character as in Methuselah. Again, consistency is a must.

It might be a good idea to keep a record of the character’s traits so that you will remain consistent and believable.

Lit Tip: Consistency is necessary in characterization.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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