Four Approaches to Characterization• Descriptive• Dramatic• Impressionistic• Historical or contextual
Descriptive Approach• What are the dominant features of the subject’s character and temperament?• What kind of mind does the subject have?• How does the subject look?• What kind of language does the subject use?• What are the subject’s activities?
Dramatic Approach• Show actions in dramatic scenes.• Present thoughts in dramatic monologues.• Use dialogue to convey dramatic relationships.
Creating Dramatic Dialogue• Listen for the speaker’s characteristic sentence pattern, cadence, rhythm, and emphasis.• Determine the general level of vocabulary: formal, slangish, abstract or concrete, simple or complex.• Aim for the essence of the speech and apply adverbs or other directions: She squealed.• Use dialect sparingly.• Read your dialogue to another person or have them read it to you.
Impressionistic Approach• Don’t elaborate on a single element, but take the scraps of information that you have and weave them into an impressionistic portrait.
Historical or Contextual Approach• Focus on the background: familial, racial, national, regional, political, economic, religious, social, intellectual, aesthetic and geographic.
What is the subject’s background and heritage?