Character Traits are words that describe a character. They may describe a
character’s Appearance, Speech, Actions, Reactions, Thoughts,
Beliefs, Attitudes, Points of View, Values, Emotions, Feelings,
Sense of Humor, Motivation, etc.
Characterization techniques are the methods an author uses to describe a
fictional character. There are two ways an author reveals what
a character is like: Direct and Indirect Characterization.
The writer states directly what the character is like.
“Little Man and I decided to settle our dispute later when Stacey wasn’t around.
With Papa away, Stacey thought of himself as the man of the house, and Mama had
instructed us to mind him. Besides, he was bigger than us, so like it or not, we
The reader must draw conclusions about the character’s personality. Sometimes
the writer describes the character’s appearance, thoughts, actions, or speech. Other
times the writer tells the reader what other characters in the story say and think
about the character. The reader then draws his or her own conclusions about the
“Every night after dinner, my mother would present me with a new test. She got
the idea from reading stories about remarkable children in Ripley’s Believe or
Not! who could perform amazing accomplishments. The tests would get harder
every night – memorizing states and capitals, multiplying big numbers in my head,
predicting the daily temperatures in New York and London, standing on my head
without using my hands…”
What can you tell about the mother in this story? What does she hope her daughter
will be like? What words would you use to describe the mother?