Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fun with Characterization - Fiction Writing Only - at PerfettoWritingRoom(c) - and Free Ideas. . .

Hi everyone, as Nathan Lane said in The Bird Cage, one does need a hint of color! In honor of good writing (and heck, why not, great movies too!) Here is the pin from my latest characterization is the "Characterization Glossary" a portion of "THE Characterization Master Course" - for those who need greater flexibility and don't really want all parts in the 82 page unit.

Now that the beautiful 82-behemoth is behind me resting on its virtual shelf at

I figured I could give all of you GRAND LIST OF IDEAS for characterization - So here they are to get you inspired.

These are ideas that I have employed in the large 82-page monster unit, followed by some I just couldn't fit in there. Please feel free to stop by and see what I've done, or, use one of these in your home as a writer or in your classroom as a teacher or professor. Characterization or setting really is the FIRST place to start when discussing story, and I'm happy I'm here with you at the start of our journey together.

Some ideas for you to ponder:

1. While I make sure, as you would that you or students understand the difference between direct and indirect characterization and showing versus telling. I also offer in my Characterization Master Unit definitions with guidelines on the eight ways to indirectly characterize....AFTER this is quite clear, I have four prompts deliberately given in frank "direct characterization" language.  The beauty is they can be revisited up to four times.

The goal is not merely to rewrite these as indirect sentences or even as paragraphs, but to create a character scene in which the direct telling statement is absolutely shown, and no words from the original statement are used. One example is "Lucinda was a daredevil who craved danger and excitement." As this is completely direct and telling, none of this except her name can be in the scene. All of it must be shown.

2. Stock characters are always debased and kicked around for their flat and stereotypical nature. Let students prove how many they can come up with and then, choose one, and break that mold by surprising the class with a nuanced and round UN-stock character.

3. Create a character scene by doing your own "visualization." YES. I know, it sounds very "a la artsy fartsy" but if you have a person do it for you, if you do it yourself like a guided meditation, OR, if you do it for students, the results are overwhelmingly positive. CHOOSE four or five places where people congregate and where you or students might like. "The talk" as we call it goes from vague to more specific, and really, there should be a lot of waiting, as the person imagines in their mind. Too much talking is distracting. First choose the place out of the four or five, then focus on the scene, the setting, the activity, then focus on the people, then find THE PERSON. Take it from there observing and taking it details using all five senses. Make your own script. This is the basis for a full character scene.

4. After you have done at least three of these (I have more of course) and you or students have a character that they like, use "Character Data Sheets" - these are unbelievably helpful because they can drive you nuts with inane and useless information - so hey, don't fill those parts out - and then, POW, it actually is the basis for an inspiration.  We included three pages in our Master Unit - so yes, it seems like a lot, but remember there are lines for writing in.

Lastly, I am now working to ONLY include the creative writing prompts for characterization with definitions, and am excising the quizzes and Analysis section. This means a unique fiction-writing only product and even more reasonably priced. And as always, feel free to use the ideas posted here, 'cause that's how we roll at the PerfettoWritingRoom (c)

No comments:

Post a Comment