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Start writing fiction: characters and stories
Start writing fiction: characters and stories

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1.4.4 Comparing your characters

Figure 9

Can you use any of these methods in your stories and with your characters?

Having looked at the characters and ways of revealing characters in the passages from Burmese Days and Notes on a Scandal, go back to your character sketch and add any elements – for instance, details of appearance or behaviour – which you think might bring the character to life for your reader.

  • Consider the ways in which your reader might be getting involved in the invention and imagining of your characters.
  • Orwell uses third-person narration, and focuses on one physical aspect of Flory to create a picture of his psychological state.
  • Heller uses first-person narration, which means we are dealing with two characters – the character being described, and the character doing the observing and describing. This adds an intrigue about the relationship between the two characters.
  • Neither method is better than the other – they are just different approaches. Check whether you are using third or first person narration.
  • Remember that your reader will always have to participate in the imagining of your characters.