Character Framing

Welcome to my very own Creative Writing Month where each day of the month I am focusing on a topic and spending fifteen minutes reflecting and writing as inspired by the topic. For more information about why and how check out my post, Writing Down the Bones.

Today’s topic: Write about someone you have loved dearly. Characterize that person.

Today I want to talk about a method I use for characterization in my writing using my sister, Morgan, as an example. Over the past couple of months I’ve been getting more serious about writing and focusing on developing some of my own ideas, stories, and potential novel pitches. I’ve read a few books, dozens of blogs, been a part of countless webinars all of which have helped to shape me and my writing skills. Through my learning I’ve focused a lot on characterization. A large part of a story is centered around the main character. In order for a reader to feel connected to your story they must also feel invested in your main character. One method of characterization which has helped me is known as Character Framing. This is an idea adapted from some of the writer’s whose work I’ve read. 

In essence, Character Framing is giving life and descriptions to a character before any formal writing takes place. You begin with a character name and from there you come up with phrases and descriptions which bring your character to life. It is possible to do this exercise without a character name if that has not yet been decided upon. In that case just place an arbitrary title for the character in the middle of the frame. A minimal list will contain five descriptions framing the name of that character for each of the senses, but a better and more rounded view of a character will come from 8-10 descriptions.

As the writer, you should take the time to know your characters before introducing them to the world. What are they like? What is their back story? What goals do they have? These are all good questions to ask as you begin to give life to a real or imagined being in your story.

Here is a look into how I might characterize my sister, Morgan, if ever I should choose to use her as a character. Here is my Character Frame for Morgan:


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