character sketch

character sketch Essay Examples

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Published: Friday 25th of January 2013

Writing a Character Sketch Essay Example

Introduction

Writing a character sketch is an incredible way for students to evaluate the characters in the literature materials that they are currently reading or people that they are inquiring about. It equips them with the tools of observation as they scrutinize the numerous details about another person. When examining a particular character in a literary material, the sketch gives the student the opportunity to play detective and endeavor to discover what the author is communicating with their characters. Students can sketch the hero or the legend of the story, the opponent (the character who causes contention for the principal one) or the supporting characters. Coming up with this kind of paper hones the skills of note-taking and observation, as they center around one particular character and the attributes that give them their identity in the book. The primary objective of this sketch is to inform about the character. In essence, you are acquainting the readers with the character. A character sketch can likewise engage and impress readers or even commend the subject. The qualities, facts, mannerisms, and achievements of the subject provide material for the character sketch. This means that you have to look for personality traits and qualities of the person you want to write about. A short narrative and quotes are additionally useful in depicting the subject. You can stress the identity, accomplishments, and appearance. Make sure to utilize solid visual words in your written work. You need to give a lasting mental picture of the figure or individual that you are writing about. Use quality adjectives for your character, or use words that identify with the five senses to evoke an emotional response from your readers. This allows readers to relate to persons and experience their feelings as if they were churning inside them. It also gives a glimpse of how you felt when reading about the personality that you are expounding on. Writing a character sketch can prove to be quite the daunting task for most authors and students. Therefore, it is crucial that you make a list of the character traits or points of interest that you need incorporate into your writing. Assuming that you have a word limit on the project, then, you need to dole out the number of traits equal to the number of paragraphs or topics required. On the other hand, you can classify the subject into a more extensive range that enables you to have numerous supporting points for every topic. It is always best to layout your composition material first so that you get a good idea of what you are composing. On the rare occasion that you need some additional assistance, consider utilizing some of the points highlighted underneath.

Create an Outline for Your Character Sketch

This is an important step that students or authors should not skip. Creating an outline helps to keep ideas organized and in one place, and allows to see the structure of the essay. Therefore, if you are a writer who favors being organized, you might want to consider creating an outline for your characters. Below is a specific layout of the points of interest that ought to be included in a character outline:

Biographical Data

The character’s name, age and where they come from.

Physical Attributes

1. A brief description of their physical appearance including:
  • Their hair color, hair length, how they style it and any outstanding features about it.
  • Their eyes. What is their eye color? Do they wear glasses or not? Are there any other dazzling features about their eyes?
  • Height, weight and body type.
  • Skin tone.
  • Distinguishing features such as tattoos or piercings.
2. Mode of Dressing
  • What color of clothes do they prefer?
  • Do they have a particular style of dressing?
  • Do they wear regular outfits or designer clothes?
3. Speech
  • Do they talk in a particular accent?
  • What is the pitch, volume or overall tone?
  • Are there certain words
  • Are they loud and direct? Or are they soft spoken?
  • A character’s speech reflects their personality.
  • How do the characters feel about their physical attributes?
  • This should be written from the character’s point of view.
It should also include the ways the character appears to be dealing with their appearance.

Personality

1. Mannerisms
  • This should include what the characters enjoy doing. How they behave, when nervous, or other overlooked things that a character likes to do such as tearing up napkins into little pieces, when they are waiting for coffee or food at a diner.
2. Bad Habits 3. Character’s strengths and weaknesses 4. Likes and dislikes

Family

Talk about the characters’:
  • Parents;
    • Father
    • Mother
  • Their siblings;
    • Sibling 1
    • Sibling 2
Try to confine the extended family to individuals critical to the story. Also, when expounding on the family, keep in mind to incorporate certain imperative things. Include the structure of family the person comes from. Is it a blended family or a nuclear family? For instance, if a single parent raised your character, make sure to scribble that down underneath the mother divide. On the off chance that the father is not critical for the story, you can without much of a stretch take that part out as well.

Hobbies

What are the character’s hobbies? How do they feel about their hobbies? Feel free to list as many hobbies as you can for the chosen figure.

History

Include their childhood history and their feelings towards their youth experiences. You can also add their teen years, young adulthood depending on the age of your character. You can also describe how their past experiences have helped shape the person that they are today. Additionally, you can give a brief history of the events that happened before the story takes place.

Conflicts

List any inner and outer conflicts that the character has.
When writing an outline, go into as much detail as you can because it makes up the structure of your character. The more information you have about your persona, the less demanding it will be to write about as your story takes shape. Note that the lists under each subtopic can be changed to befit your desires. Here is a case example of the above character outline being used to write a personality sketch. You can use this as a guide to help you overcome writer's block composing your own character sketch.

The Introduction

This segment is, usually, the first section of any character sketch. Its sole purpose is to introduce the persona to readers. Ideally, it should incorporate the following: Your thesis statement. This is the general theme of the essay or the principle idea of what you are composing. The thesis statement ought to include the most critical character's attributes of the individual that you are writing about. The subtopics. These will turn into the topic sentences in the body paragraphs. With one to two sentences, briefly list the characteristics that you will discuss in the body. Conclude your introduction with a transitioning sentence that ties into the next paragraph.

The Body

This section separates the introduction and the conclusion. The paragraphs in this section seek to detail the characteristics recorded as subtopics in the introduction. The subtopics act as the topic sentences in each paragraph. Try to include the most vital trait as the first paragraph, the second trait in the second paragraph, and so on. Each paragraph should discuss each trait in detail. Incorporate information about encounters that support the trait that’s being talked about. Keep in mind that a decent paragraph has around four to eight sentences. All the sentences need a subject and a verb phrase that make up a complete idea. Use quality adjectives, prepositions, adverbs and phrases that will spruce up your writing. You also need to engage your readers so make sure that you include information that will help them relate to your protagonist. If the outline appears to be too rigid and constraining for your innovativeness, consider making a “scaled down story” about your character. Do this by answering a few inquiries such as how your character looks physically or how they act in the most descriptive language. These questions should be answered in paragraph form. To answer the question what does your character look like; you need to portray your character as though you had quite recently passed him or her in the streets. Here is a decent illustration: “Summer had her reddish-brown hair pulled up in its usual updo. She liked it that way since it kept her hair out of her face when reading her novel. She sat down her favorite cream leather couch, smoothed out her blue skirt and adjusted the sleeves of her white blouse. She then proceeded to cover her legs with the throw blanket on the couch and set out to enjoy her novel.” This passage digs a little into her appearance, identity, and personality. It is an example of an open-ended character sketch. If you want, you can just describe her physical appearance only as illustrated below: “Summer has long, silky red hair that’s usually pulled up into a messy bun. She has beautiful blue eyes and she wears contact lenses. She can be considered to be of average weight and height. Her sense of style is conservative, favoring tan hues. She more often than not wears collared blouses and skirts and she has a rosary around her neck every day. She talks with a Californian accent and her go-to phrase when she is excited or frightened is “Goodness Gracious!” Make sure to use descriptive words when writing about the characters preferences and identity. Here is an example of a paragraph describing Summer’s character: “Summer is benevolent, well-mannered, and patient. She has an inclination to lose track of time so she is not always punctual. Whenever she is concerned, worried, or on edge, she'll finger the rosary she wears around her neck. She, generally, makes sure to cross her legs when she is sitting since she is conservative. She is continually eager to help. She adores cats, and her hobbies include gardening, singing and reading novels. She despises discourteous individuals. She also dislikes seeing a wounded or homeless creature and whenever she sees one, she tries to help it.” This gives readers a glimpse of Summer’s character. Use this preview when writing your character sketch. When writing about a character's history, try to expand as much as you can broadly. Most likely, this section will be more than one paragraph. Here's a case of what the character's history would look like composed along these lines: “Summer was a brilliant and cheerful kid. When she was five, her mom Autumn took her to the chapel. She wound up enchanted with the Christian faith and wanted to go to church every Sunday. Autumn kept on taking her and helped guide her through her faith. She decided to be baptized when she was twelve years old. Her faith intrigued her sister Lily, and she took her to a sermon one Sunday. Soon, her sister joined them and the three of them grew in faith all the more together.” “At sixteen, Summer turned into a dynamic volunteer at her congregation including singing in church at the weekly fellowships. She was seventeen when she led a Bible study at her folks' home. She graduated from high school and immediately started applying for Christian universities. She joined the University of her choice when she was eighteen, where she is currently studying for a nursing degree.” These two sections disclose everything that happened to Summer as a kid, in her youngster years, and just before the story starts. For most writers, this specific style of character outline may be simpler to look back at amid the writing process. For others, the framework may be better. You can likewise choose to utilize both - make a framework to begin with, and then later write paragraphs. For those who feel like this is too much work, they can pick character traits from the Fiction Writer’s Mentor website and build a character from those traits. This method gives the writer freedom to do whatever they feel is best for them. It also allows them to be creative. The issue with this approach is that it does not give the physical description of a character.

The Conclusion

This is the last passage in your paper. It sums up what you have written in your character sketch. Your conclusion should achieve the following goals:
  • Restate the main idea in your character sketch.
  • Summarize the important points.
  • Close with a solid statement that leaves a remarkable final impression.
“Summer is a beautiful young girl with blue eyes. She is currently pursuing a nursing degree in college. She loves reading novels, singing, gardening and going to church. She first encountered the Christian faith at a tender age and has been committed to it ever since. Her love for humanity and her charitable nature is something worth admiring.”

Final Piece of Advice

A character sketch requires you to only give a brief account of the character that you are writing about. Making a character sketch depends heavily on your requirements for your story, your personality, and your innovativeness. On the off chance that you incline toward rules and rigidness, then an outline may be the option for you. If you prefer more flexibility, then open-ended inquiries and answers might be more your style. However, you can examine consolidating each of the two to have a comprehensive picture of who your character is. Finally, make sure that you re-read your paper and edit or correct any errors. You can do this a day after you finish writing your project. Alternatively, you can have another person re-reading it for you, since they are more likely to notice the small mistakes that you would, probably, overlook.
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