Bakers Dozen: Creative Writing Workbook (Chapter 3, page 1 of 3)


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Chapter 3

I. Definitions concerning characters and characterization A. Protagonist- the main character in the story. (He doesn't have to be good.

Think about Jason or Freddy.)

B. Antagonist- the person. place, force, or thing that opposes the protagonist. The antagonist could be a monster, a tornado, a desert, or other things besides people.

NOTE: In some stories it can be hard to tell whether a character is the protagonist or antagonist. Consider the characters Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins played in Silence of the Lambs.

Types of characterization: C. Direct characterization- the author just comes right out and tells you about a character. "John Henry was the strongest and also the friendliest guy working on the railroad." OR "Sally was depressed when she awoke on Saturday morning."

D. Indirect characterization- the reader has to figure out what the character is thinking and feeling by what he or she says or does or by what others say about him or her. "John slammed his books on the table and cursed under his breath." Even though the author doesn't come right out and say so, the reader can infer that John is mad.

Kinds of characters: E. Round or three-dimensional characters- these kinds of characters are a lot like real people. They have different personality traits. Some of those traits may even seem contradictory. In short, round characters are not all good or all bad depending on the circumstances they find themselves in. The major characters of movies, stories, novels, are usually round characters.

F. Flat characters- these are usually minor characters within a work. They usually show only one side to their personalities. (Mainly one character trait.)

G. Stock characters/stereotypes- these kinds of characters are not real at all. They are what we call types and they are used frequently in stories that are not considered literary. As a result, they are instantly recognized and not very interesting anymore.

Examples of stock characters are the greedy land lord, the brave sheriff, the "ditsy" blonde, the greedy old man, and the mysterious hermit.

Different words are used to describe what happens to a character within a story.

H. Dynamic character-a character who changes in the story (for better or worse.)

I. Static character-a character who does not change.

J. Motivation-what a character wants to accomplish within the story.

II. Practice: 1. Tell what the protagonist and the antagonist are for your favorite book, your favorite song, your favorite movie, your favorite television show, and your favorite video game.

2. Write a descriptive paragraph about a real or imaginary character. Use direct characterization to tell what that character is thinking or feeling.

3. Write a descriptive paragraph about a real or imaginary character. Use indirect characterization only, to show that this character is happy or sad or mad or excited or any other emotion you want to show. (Use more than one emotion if you wish.)

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