Characterization is easily defined as the process an author uses to reveal the personality of a character either directly (author description) or indirectly (the reader must infer what the character is like).   The descriptions may include how the character speaks, thinks, feels and acts. How others perceive the character as well as his physical appearance are part of characterization.

Simply put, characterization in literature is usedto highlight and explain the details about a character in a story. It is in the initial stage in which the writer introduces the character with noticeable emergence. After introducing the character, the writer often talks about his behavior; then, as the story progresses, the thought-processes of the character.

An author can use two approaches to deliver information about a character and build an image of it. These two types of characterization include:

  1. Direct or explicit characterization

This kind of characterization takes a direct approach towards building the character. It uses another character, narrator, or the protagonist himself to tell the readers or audience about the subject.

  1. Indirect or implicit characterization

This is a more subtle way of introducing the character to the audience. The audience has to deduce for themselves the characteristics of the character by observing his/her thought process, behavior, speech, way of talking, appearance, and manner of communication with other characters, as well as by discerning the response of other characters.

Characterization is an essential component in writing good literature. Modern fiction, in particular, has taken great advantage of this literary device. Understanding the role of characterization in storytelling is very important for any writer. To put it briefly, it helps us make sense of the behavior of any character in a story by helping us understand their thought processes.

A good use of characterization always leads the readers or audience to relate better to the events taking place in the story. Dialogues play a very important role in developing a character, because they give us an opportunity to examine the motivations and actions of the characters more deeply.

Elements of WritingWriting Craft

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