Tuesday, January 3, 2012


In this blog I have decided to look at characterization from the viewpoint of psychology, but have never really defined what characterization is. Today I decided to look it up and get a little more information on it. It was interesting to find out that one of the reasons that characterization became important in the 19th century was partly due to the rise of psychology. This makes sense since psychology is the study of the human mind and behavior as well as animal behavior. Since this is what psychology is all about it only makes sense that it would influence how writers write.

There are two ways in which a character can be brought to life in a book. First there is the direct method. This is where the author tells the audience exactly who and what the the character is. The second method is called the indirect method. This is where the audience infers what the character is like through the thoughts and actions of the character and through the reactions of other characters around the character. I think that today more than ever we present our characters in a more indirect method. We want to show our audience who and what our characters are rather than telling our audience who and what our characters are.

It is important to have a well-developed character in our stories in order to catch not only the audiences attention, but also the agents attention. Agents are looking for good characterization and they want to see that the characters in our books are changing and progressing. For this reason it is important to understand the psychology behind characterization. That's why you should read my blog !! (That was some self promoting sorry that it slipped in there :)

I know that for me by posting about the things that I have learned in psychology and then relating it to characterization I have learned a lot about how to create my characters and some of the things that I was missing in earlier works. I hope that it has been just as helpful to you.

In what ways have your characters come to life by using what you know about psychology in creating them?


  1. I would agree. Sometimes it is necessary to write out interactions and conversations with a character, even if that material will never see the light of day, is helpful in gaining understanding of an character. ;D

  2. i def have appreciated what i have learned through reading you and it really does help develop a solid character....

  3. I completely agree. I often write dialogue and interaction that never sees the final page, but it helps me to develop characters deeper than before.

  4. I am always impressed with people who write their novels out of order and still manage to have consistent character development from beginning to end. I know that is because they know their characters so well and that is what the editing process is for.

  5. I think that we as humans indirectly judge other people and their own character so often. We see one small part and make a huge inference. It only makes sense that we do that when reading too.

  6. Psychology has made me consider things I wouldn't have before; how their upbringing would affect what the characters are like as adults, how their own actions reflect their past and what they see strengthens or weakens past observations.


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