Well-crafted characterization is what sets a great book apart from the rest.  Even the best plot ever conceived won’t pop until the characters who bring it life really do become real on the page.  Flat, underdeveloped characters make the reader lose interest quicker than anything else.

Writers strive to bring the people (and some animals) to life the forefront, so readers can smell, see, hear, taste, and feel what’s happening to them, to really get a good peek into their thoughts as well as their thought process.  Characters are so much more than their physical descriptions, whether in first or third person.

Stephen King, in my humble opinion, is the absolute King of Characterization.  I first realized his gift in that department years ago when I read Insomnia, where one guy had “old man breath” and somebody smelled of some kind of cheese, I think.  Mr King often gives his book people catch phrases and sometimes theme songs, or at least lyrics that keep recurring.  Not only do you get wrapped up in his amazing plots (and they’re not all horror, check him out!), you will be able to visualize everyone to the point of sometimes knowing what they’re going to think as situations arise.  If you haven’t read something of his, I strongly recommend it.   If you haven’t guessed, he’s my all time favorite.  😛

Who do you think is the master or mistress of Characterization?

3 comments on “Characterization

  1. Joe Pineda says:

    Personally, I haven’t read that many Stephen King novels, namely because his material is not very akin to my interests. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize his talent. He’s very popular for a reason, right?

    In my case, I think Mario Puzo falls into that category. He’s one of the few writers I know who can give you a sense of who or what a character is without bothering to describe their looks at great length. Rather, it’s as if he lets you observe behavior and motivations instead, leaving you to fill those blanks according to what your perception of those two is in regards to appearance.

  2. I can’t pick a favorite master or mistress at the moment, but if you haven’t read King’s newest, you should! I thought it was terrific – 11/22/63!

  3. Sandy Youngman says:

    Has anyone read Earth Abides by G. Stewart?

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