Characters inside

Character Profiles include Interior Traits

What's INSIDE your character? Part of 15 Days to a Stronger Character series

Inside, I’m different than the person you see. Isn’t that true for all of us? We look in a mirror and are amazed at that person staring back.

What is your character like on the inside? Interior character qualities may never make it into a description of a character, but from everything the character does, thinks, says, it will be obvious. Characterization involves giving the reader a glimpse of the emotions and thoughts of a character.

This is one of the main differences between movies and novels: movies can only hint at the character’s interior reactions, while novels give it to the reader directly.

When an event happens, the main character should have an opinion about the action which is shown through the characters thoughts: event, character’s interior reaction to the event (thoughts and emotions), exterior reaction to the event, usually an action. In your book, story or novel, all important events should be passed through this filter of the character’s thoughts and emotions. This type character development lays bare a main character for the reader to enjoy.

5 Interior Character Traits to Explore

As you profile your fictional characters, consider these traits:

  • Intelligence. Intelligence is shown through the character’s vocabulary and the brilliance of his/her scheming to get his/her own way.
  • Intuition. Does your character understand things without having it explained? Intuition is a grasp of events, people, situations or puzzles without detailed explanation or exploration.
  • Curiosity. A main character which constantly questions the world and setting of the story is curious. After an event, this character will be seeking more information.
  • Honesty. Got a dishonest character? The contrast between inside thoughts and outside actions will reveal how much the character values honesty.
  • Spirituality. When a character reacts by appealing to God, or by invoking destiny, s/he reveals her spirituality. This character trait can dominate a fictional character, or it could be used as gentle asides. Either way, spirituality has potential for characterization.

For more character traits to explore, read creatingcharactersCreating Characters: A Writer’s Reference to the Personality Traits That Bring Fictional People to Life by Howard Lauther.

Read more in 15 Days to a Stronger Character

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