The act of representing a character in writing by describing actions, gestures, physical appearances, dialogue, and thoughts. Essentially, it is the humanization of literary characters.

Ways to Know a Character:
  • Appearance
    • how the character looks
    • how the character dresses

  • Thoughts and conversation
    • what the character says, thinks, or feels
    • what others in the story say or think about the character

  • Actions
    • what the character does
    • what the character chooses not to do
    • what others in the story do to the main character

  • Protagonist: the main character or lead figure in a literary work. Generally, the reader is rooting for this person to succeed.
  • Antagonist: The person, thing, of force creating conflict in the life of the protagonist.
  • Round: A character who is fully developed and well-rounded. This character has many different personality traits- usually both good and bad.
  • Flat: A character who is one-dimensional and can be described using only one or two words.
  • Static: A character who goes through very little, if any, internal change, growth, or development.
  • Dynamic: A character who changes throughout the course of the novel. Usually, dynamic characters change and develop for the better.
  • Foils: Two characters who are so opposite of one another that they bring out each other's character traits.

Readers who want to understand character can ask:
  • Are the characters believable? Have you ever felt like this character, or have you known anyone who felt like this character? What about the character seemed real and true?
  • Is each character’s behavior consistent with what we know about him or her? Does the behavior remain consistent throughout the book? Is the change that occurs in the character (reasonable)?
  • Does the character’s behavior show that the character is a unique individual (or is the behavior stereotypical)?
  • Do you identify with the character? How would you have reacted if you were the character?
  • Does the character change or learn as the story progresses? Does the character reach a new understanding about the situation or about life?
  • Is the character memorable? Will you remember this character in a month?

Information taken from: