Characterization Writing Workshop

In July I attended a writing workshop taught by Janette Rallison about characterization. I’ve been wanting to share what I learned for quite a while; better late than never!

Janette suggested some great activities that helped me focus on my main character’s defining quality.Writing workshop

  • Write a character bio / share past events that effect the present
  • List physical traits, social/economic background, personality type
  • Character webbing
  • Interview your character
  • Write a journal entry in their voice

Make your character dimensional by including the following:

  • Contradicting traits
  • Inner Conflict
  • Growth
  • Imperfections
  • Intelligence – don’t make your character an idiot
  • Heroic characteristics

What are heroic characteristics? Heroes…

  • have courage, or find it.
  • are clever & resourceful.
  • have a special talent.
  • live by their own laws.
  • are good at what they do for a living.
  • take the lead in a cause or action at some point in the story.
  • have been wounded.
  • are motivated at some point by idealism
  • are attractive.

As a writer, an effective tool for showing your character is internal thought. Here’s 5 reasons to use it correctly.

  1. Reveals characterization
  2. Reveals motivation
  3. Increases tension
  4. Is often referred to as ‘voice’
  5. Strengthens writing

There was so much great information. Rereading my four pages of notes makes me want to go play with my manuscript some more! (Do I really need to pick up the kids from school?)


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