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Writing characterisation: How to do it right

Writing characterisation: How to do it right

A characterisation summarises the most important characteristics of a novel character. This includes both external and internal characteristics. We will help you with the most important features of a characterisation, a detailed structure, numerous adjectives for description and examples for illustration.

A characterisation is used at school in or English lessons and sometimes even later in studies. Whether it an essay, an exam or a scientific paper - we have compiled everything you need to know to help you write a characterisation quickly and successfully.

Definition of a characterisation

Characterisation: a definition

Even though the terms characterisation and description of a person are often used synonymously, there is a big difference. A personal description refers to the external features of a person (such as clothing, body, facial expressions, gestures), whereas a characterisation also includes the internal features (such as thoughts, feelings, character traits).

A characterisation therefore serves to make the exterior and the essence of a character tangible. can help you to describe the relationships between the characters or to make predictions about the future actions of the respective character. Character development is also part of it. In an interpretation or essay, characterisation can help you to support your arguments.

Direct and indirect characterisation in the text

Characters in a text can be characterised either directly or indirectly. In direct characterisation, either the narrator, another character or even your character themselves describe their character. For example, has always been moody. From this statement, the character trait is direct: Lila is a moody person who changes her mood quickly.

With indirect characterisation, you can interpret a persons characteristics with the help of their indirect signals. These are the persons own expressions, feelings and thoughts. For example: I was worried about going to the school dance. Afterwards someone will want to talk to me, or worse: someone will ask me to dance. From this statement you can infer that the speaker is insecure, shy of contact and does not like to dance.

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