What are the 5 Methods Used in Indirect Characterization?

Creating captivating characters is a fundamental aspect of writing. Understanding how to develop characters effectively often involves the use of indirect characterization. This technique allows you to reveal details about characters in an implicit way, helping readers build comprehensive images of them. Let’s delve into the five methods of indirect characterization.


The way a character communicates can tell a lot about their persona. Speech mirrors their education level, social status, origins, and attributes, to mention a few. For instance, a character using sophisticated words might be highly educated, while a character with frequent slang may characterize youthfulness or a casual attitude.

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Expressions of a character’s thoughts provide insights into their internal feelings, beliefs, aspirations, and fears. This method allows readers to understand characters deeply – their motives, dreams, and triggers that might not be evident through their speech or actions.

Effect on Others

The effect a character has on others is significant in character revelation. The viewpoints, reactions, or feelings of other characters towards a particular character helps the reader develop an impression of them, whether they’re likable, authoritative, repulsive, or attractive.

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What a character does, or doesn’t do, discloses volumes about their persona than what they say. Action displays their true character and leads the reader to understand their ethics, impulses, and tendencies.


A character’s appearance, including their physical traits, apparel, and general aesthetics, portrays their identity. While physical features may suggest age or ethnicity, clothing style might indicate their socio-economic status, profession, or lifestyle.

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Indirect characterization is a valuable technique that provides depth and realism to your characters, wrapping the reader more intensely into your narrative. Understanding and applying the five indirect characterization methods: speech, thoughts, effect on others, action, and appearance, will turn your characters from simple sketches to compelling individuals that resonate in the reader’s mind. Craft your characters carefully as they can profoundly shape the reader’s journey.

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