Writing About a Character

How can you show character in your story or personal narrative?  Through description, the character’s dialogue, thoughts, actions and reactions.  

Here is a good example of description from Karen Cushman’s Matilda Bone.

She shivered, battered by the icy wind. Thin and small, with long yellow braids and large, wary seagreen eyes, she stood, carrying nothing but a bundle with a change of linen – – no Sunday kirtle or surcoat, no poppet or other plaything, nothing of her mother or her father or of the priest who had raised her.

Cushman begins with active verbs and uses vivid details and specific word choices to show the time period and the character’s background. 

In Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife  the vet comes to life: 

That meant calling the zoo vet, Dr. Lopatzynski, who always arrived on his spluttering motorcycle wearing a leather jacket, big hat with long waving ear flaps, cheeks whisked red by the wind, and prince-nez glasses perched on his nose.”

Again notice the active verbs whisked and perched and the specific type of glasses giving us a life-like picture.

Writing prompt:

Now it’s your turn.  Choose one of your characters and describe him or her.  Use a verb and a physical description, being as specific and as active as possible.


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