I think we need a page for characterization examples and helpful tips. So here it is! There are lots of examples of characterization on the pages for "character," "character flaws," "people" etc. This page is for direct examples and a little bit of "how-to" advice that writers want to share!

I'm going to start off by explaining what characterization is - simply put it is how you develop a character physically and emotionally. It is how you show their personality.

There are two types of characterization - direct and indirect. Direct characterization is how most writers begin. It is a "tell" not a "show." Example:

"Mira was nervous, this exam would determine the rest of her life."

Indirect characterization shows with their actions, thoughts, feelings, emotions, impact on others, reactions and such. Example:

"Mira rocked back and forth on the plastic chair, not noticing how small it was now. There was a time she fitted in there perfectly, not anymore. When her eyes rested on the small window to the examination room the left again just as quickly. How was an ordinary door so hard to look at. It made no sense. In there was a desk, a paper a pencil. In two hours from now her fate was sealed one way or the other. She choked down the rising bile and consciously flexed her hand, feeling at last the pain of her nails digging into her palm. When the bell finally rang she almost bit her tongue in two. She rose, oblivious to the bleach tinctured air and rested her fingers on the cool metal of the door handle."


Direct characterization: Anne felt nervous at the mere sight of him.

Indirect characterization: Anne glanced around the room at the students, accidentally making eye contact with him; the guy that took up most of her thoughts and daydreams. Stuck in a trance like state, she stared at his dark eyes that were completely void of emotion. He smirked and continued doing classwork. She felt emotionally paralyzed, all of her thoughts were in a mental traffic jam. She finally got the sense to look back at her book, figures and equations stared back at her, taunting her.

By serenadavidson, September 10, 2015.

Perpetually early for the movies, David stood for a few seconds as he always did. The rows of red velvet seats stretched away in a gentle arc and beckoned him to choose. Never once did he take a step forward until he'd sampled his popcorn. The saltiness had to be just right. A smile stretched on his thin lips as the kernel dissolved. Theatres varied so much, but this little palace of film was his all time favourite. The slightly smaller screen was more than compensated for by the ambience. From outside to in, it reminded him of the cinemas in Europe his father had taken him to as a boy. In those days there had been an intermission for the ushers to bring ice-cream and candy down the aisles, an interruption that would be unthinkable in today's action packed blockbusters.

With a small creak he knew he wouldn't be alone for much longer. The happy chatter and munching was all part of it, but he had to choose his seat first or it wouldn't be the same. It would be like a gift already opened. In moments his crisp ironed dress pants sank into the cushion. With soda to his right and the family sized popcorn on his left all was right with his world. Nothing could go wrong now. The ritual had been perfect, all he had to do now was sit tight and wait for the stars.