Character Description Exercise

  1. Write your own posthumous encyclopedia entry. What is it that you as reporter would highlight about you the person and writer? What unique details would be included?
  2. Take the following generic description and re-write it in a way that is unique and compelling. Refer especially to chapters one and two of Kress:
    John Smith was a tall man. He wore a dark suit that was a little loose. He had light hair and eyes. There was something about him when he walked down the street that made people stare at him. He always reacted when they did that. He had a peculiar facial expression that occurred when he thought he was being looked at, and did funny things with his hands.
  3. Close your eyes and let a picture of a character, male or female, “pop” up. Take that character and place him/her in a setting that you’re familiar with. Now, write for five minutes WITHOUT STOPPING describing that character, what he does, how the setting affects him, and anything else that occurs to you. The secret is to keep writing! Don’t edit as you go, just let it flow. Then take a five minute break, come back and look for any unique details that came out of what you did. Edit your work into a one paragraph description of a highly individualized character. (Note: Doing this regularly will not only strengthen your ability to characterize, but also suggest characters who may carry an entire story or novel.)

This article was taken from the course Creating Dynamic Characters. Click here to register for the course now!

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