Direct and Indirect Characterization

Something I talk about regularly with my students is characterization. It’s something I have to think about regularly as I create stories and characters outside of class as well. I have done other short videos on character alignment, dialogue, and motivations. However, today, I made a video focusing on direct and indirect characterization.


We often hear, “Show, don’t tell.” But this is only partly true. Sometimes, it’s actually best to tell. That might seem a little controversial in the writing world, but oftentimes, this is what we need to do in order to make the reader feel engaged and know what is truly important. If we only show, there is a sea of details the reader will get lost in. Eventually, they’ll get lost and lose interest. Think about all of those old books you read in high school. You know, the ones you didn’t like at the time. Back when there were so many unnecessary details explaining mannerisms and descriptors that seemed to hold no real value to the actual story.


So when we directly tell a reader about a character, and when we show how he/she is through their actions is extremely important. We need to pick our battles and know when to do this.


In this video I define each (direct and indirect characterization), and explain ways we can choose the right times to directly and indirectly show our characters.


I hope you enjoy!

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