Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Characterization Master Class & Nonfiction Writing With Freebie Ideas

Now that I am working, day and night on A Characterization Master Unit – It occurs to me that a lot of . . .

FREE information can be passed along to readers, writers, and teachers. Of course there have been some puzzles along the way too.

Is there a difference between Showing vs. Telling, and Indirect vs. Direct Characterization?

It has occurred to me that there aren’t many definitions out there for showing versus telling, or for that matter, direct versus indirect characterization, only a lot of explanation and writing, with many examples that take up PAGES. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized these three truths:

1. Showing versus Telling is a “golden rule” that describes the difference between indirect and direct characterization. However, in some respects, it goes beyond the realm of character because showing involves setting as well.

2. As a result, direct and indirect characterization aren’t exactly the same as the “Showing vs. Telling” mantra. There is some overlap however. Direct and Indirect characterization, which I will speak about a little later, each have guidelines, and yes, a definition. “Showing vs. Telling” oddly enough, over time has turned into a broader definition for STRONGER more visual writing which serves in fiction writing as well as nonfiction and essay writing.

3. Contrary to even the idea of “Show don’t Tell,” direct characterization (or telling) is often needed and can be indispensable to writing fiction. Simply put, you can’t write a novel of 400 pages with pure indirect characterization. Sometimes, you must directly state. The art comes with knowing when to show, and when to tell.

Today’s Discussion – So What is Direct Characterization and Indirect Characterization? Clarified!

Direct- When the writer states or reports information about the characters to the reader, resulting in distance between the reader and the characters. The reader feels this way because the strongest voice is that of the writer/narrator who is delivering information directly and who in a sense stands between the reader and the character. The information may be the same as that given in indirect characterization (appearance, physical description, mood, even speech) but it is reported by the narrator,  and not shown visually. As a result, it is told a lot quicker. It's benefits are that it can pick up the pace of a slow story, can advance the story and help readers read past the less important characters and differentiate major from minor players.

Indirect Characterization – unlike direct characterization where the writer or narrator directly provides information to the reader about a character, in indirect characterization, the writer “tricks” the reader into feeling that the information is coming from the character, which results in a deep connection with the character.

This includes dialogue in which the reader can pick up accent, opinion, and attitude; movement, including physical ailment or energy; responses, actions or reactions to a major event a discussion or comment, whether it be a large body movement or even a small facial expression; physical description, which may indicate something interesting, ordinary or ominous; Thoughts, feelings, dreams or even daydreams, which provide a close intimacy with the character that people do not have with others in real life; name, an optional indirect characterization move that offers information about a character; responses of other characters, through their dialogue or body language; character choices; and friendships.

I hope that helps….

More tomorrow, and always feel free to pop into my store for reasonably priced writing goods as well as free stuff.

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