Fiction Writers – Learn How to Write Fiction. Characterization Techniques:
Once you’ve spent some time with your characters—gotten to know their internal and external traits—you will be tempted to share this wealth of information with your reader. Not only is this not necessary, it can be deadly to your story. As author, you need to know a lot about your characters in order to write about them convincingly, but your reader only needs as much information as is necessary to follow the story at any given point. Long, exhaustive character descriptions interrupt the forward motion of your story. In a novel these passages can be boring and are likely to be skipped by the reader; in a short story, you simply can’t spare the words.
It’s much more effective to select a few details at a time and weave them into the story gradually, so the reader has a sense of getting to know the characters better as the story progresses. There are essentially three kinds of information you will want to give your reader about your characters: physical description, personal history, and character analysis. There are also three primary characterization techniques—narration, dialogue and action. All three are not equally well suited to all three types of character information.