The Fourth Method of Characterization

For all you novelists and short story writers out there, you may have heard that the first three methods of developing characters in a story are:

1.) Dialouge: Where the naunces of personality are revealed through each character’s mannerisms of speech.  

2.) Direct: Intended examples: He was this tall. She wore these gloves.  He allways ate with his mouth open.

3.) Indirect: Having other characters in the story tell us what a certain character is like. 

Of course there is a hidden, fourth method of characterization concealed within this third method. A character, such as a narrator included within the story, reveals his character to us, as well, each time he makes a statement about another character.

If the character is gracious and speaks highly about another, this might cause the readers to view this character in a better light. A character who speaks positively of others may also have more credibility to readers. And visa-versa.

Interestingly enough both The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises are short novels that employ a firstperson narrator who is present in the story and who describes the adventures of the protagonist. It’s occurred to me lately that one of the reasons that I prefer The Great Gatsby is that, unlike The Sun Also Rises, it has a narrator that speaks with admiration of its protagonist. 

When authors compose works in which their narrators speak negatively of the protagonist, they are actually imparting a great handicap to that narrator by not allowing the use of positive language. Sure, the protagonist may lack something. But lacking something just isn’t very descriptive. 

About davidwallacefleming

David Wallace Fleming is a U.S. writer, living in Austin, Texas. He is the author of the coming-of-age, social media novel GROWING UP WIRED, and the satirical science fiction audiobook, NOT FROM CONCENTRATE.
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One Response to The Fourth Method of Characterization

  1. Mason says:

    Interesting Information. Thanks for sharing.

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