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Character in Fiction

A presentation, with audio overlay, discussing the broad points of character in fiction. This was developed for high school students, to be used during a larger unit on the short story form.

Robert Woerheide

on 5 October 2013

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Transcript of Character in Fiction

Character in

Types of Character
We see different types of characters
based on their properties
Character Motivation and Change
The main character is called the PROTAGONIST.
Character Basics
The person or PEOPLE who populate a story.
The character must WANT something ...
even if it is only a glass of water.
The character must CHANGE, and the
change must come from within.
Flat Characters
These are characters who fit
a SPECIFIC ROLE. Often they are
minor characters.
Dynamic vs Static
Dynamic characters CHANGE
Round Characters
Contain BOTH good and bad qualities:
Redeeming characteristics and shortcomings.
Truest to real life!
These make the best, most interesting
characters. Good stories use them!
Protagonists are almost always "round" characters.
Contain ONLY good or bad qualities:
simply the "bad guy" or "good guy."
They do not "ring true" to real life.
There is no "tension" with this character, no struggle.
Flat characters weaken story and should be
avoided when writing strong fiction.
They tend to be "STEREOTYPED"
Examples of stock characters include ...
The absent-minded professor
The cat lady
The mad scientist
OMG the zombie!

Static characters STAY THE SAME
Strong, interesting fiction uses dynamic characters
(Change is GOOD!)
As readers, we don't care as much
about static characters.
The Character Must Want Something!
Desire for something is the single most important element that must appear in every story, play, or movie.
You should be able to identify what the
character WANTS, even if it is only a glass of water.
Just Say "No!"
We don't have a story unless the character
is told, "No!"
The "ANTAGONIST" gets in the way of the
character's wishes.
The situation, plot, and circumstances,
get in the way of the character's wishes.
PLOT POINTS spin the story
in a new direction--usually
saying, "No!" at the same time.
Creating Character
Interior life: how a character thinks and feels,
based on life experiences (biography).
Exterior life: what a character does in
the world (personal, professional, private).
Every WORD and ACTION taken by
a character teaches the reader
more about that character.
most critical aspects of story.
Conflict and change both deal
directly with CHARACTERS.
Character Types: Round, Flat, Stock, Dynamic, Static.
Characters in Fiction
Conflict ("no!") in the face of desire
puts the character to the test, and
we learn what s/he is made of.
Characters are created by interior
and exterior conditions, and we learn
about them from their words & actions.
Characters in fiction go through change,
or readers don't care about them.
Now use what we've learned to analyze examples of character from film and fiction.
In Practice ...
Keep in mind ...
A new sheet of paper.
Grab ...
Write ...
Your name at the top.
Watch ...
The following excerpts ...
... and identify:
1 - The type of character(s) you see.
2 - What s/he wants.
3 - The "no!" or conflict.
4 - What actions or words teach
you about the character
Watercolors and pencil sketch artwork by Kathy Wyatt.
Created by Robert Judge Woerheide for Valley Park High School
Full transcript