How do Authors Use Direct Characterization in a Story?
By Melody E. McIntyre
Characters are the heart of any story and characterization is how authors tell us who those characters are. The methods authors use fall into two broad categories: direct and indirect. Direct is when an author tells you something about their character such as “she is smart”. Indirect characterization presents the same information, but through the character’s actions or dialogue instead of outright stating it. This can also be phrased another way, show vs. tell.
One of the most common pieces of writing advice is to avoid “telling” in favour of “showing”, and often this is true. However, to develop strong, relatable characters, it’s important for essay writers to know how to use both styles in their fiction.