Writing Full and Engaging Character Descriptions

4 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT use precise words, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of characters by writing and sharing introduction paragraphs for their main characters.

Big Idea

Creating engaging characters, who we can relate to, will help us write engaging stories.

Getting Started

10 minutes

It's been a week since students saw their graphic organizers that layout the framework of their serialize narratives (we only write on Friday afternoons). We will start class by reviewing their work. I will ask the students that have finished their worksheets to reacquaint themselves with their work, make edits, and add new information. I will ask those who haven't finished to continue working.

Character Descriptions

30 minutes

Today students are going to imagine and create the main characters in their serialized stories. They are going to write descriptive paragraphs for two characters, but first we will discuss strategies and approaches (W.9-10.3). I will ask them to consider the five senses: What does this person look like-- determine clothes, height, facial expressions? What does he or she smell like-- nutmeg, shaving cream, gasoline? I will refer to Dickens' description of Mrs. Joe as an example. I will also ask them to consider figurative language (W.9-10.3d). Metaphors and analogies can help us relate to new characters. Dickens uses a metaphor to introduce Joe; he is Herculean in strength and weakness.

I anticipate that these paragraphs will be difficult, but I think that it is an important first step. In any good story, the audience has to like the main character and root for him or her, but the writer has to do that first in order for the audience to do so. I hope that this exercise will help my writers like their main characters, so that the story line will fall into place and they will find success.

In many ways, the graphic organizer is the easy part because it easy to have ideas, and much harder to follow through on them.

Drawing our Descriptions in Groups

20 minutes

Once students have had a chance to write, I want them to get a sense of where they are succeeding and where they need to improve. We will do that by sharing our work in groups of three and four. I will count off by four and assign spots around the room for each to sit. Each student will read their paragraphs aloud to their group and the others will draw their version of what they heard. This method will allow each student to see if their peers understand the character as intended. Students can edit their work according to the success of their group discussion (W.9-10.5). It will also give me a chance to hear what they are writing and how they are reacting to each other.