Teach and learn creative writing lesson.




To write a really great story, you need one or more really great characters! Good writers know their characters as if they were real people. Did you ever have an imaginary friend? That is what characters are like to writers.


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Often, before writing the story, a fiction writer does a character sketch to describe the main character and other important characters. The character sketch describes the character's personality, looks, likes and dislikes in a way that makes him or her seem real. The information in the character sketch may never be used in the story, but the author uses it to know exactly how to make the character act or speak.


Here is part of a character sketch for a character I once created. You can see that I thought about and answered very specific questions about the character. After reading the character sketch, you will probably be able to tell me something this character might say or do. (Hint: I am going to ask you to do that!)


Matthew Ryan Curran, Jr., a.k.a. Matt is twelve years old and lives in Wyckoff, New Jersey. He is shorter than boys his age. He has sandy brown hair and bright green eyes. His hair is very straight and fine and he wears it a bit long. He doesn't like to get it cut.


Matthew's mother is Angela. His father is Matthew, Sr. He has a younger brother named Peter, who is 10 . Peter is named after his dad's brother. Uncle Peter and his wife, Rita, have a 15-year-old son, Brian. Matthew feels like he is always being compared to Brian.


Matthew's father is a math teacher at a nearby high school. His mom works part time as a nurse. They are a middle-class family, but not as well off as most of the people in their town. Matthew's parents have taught him not to measure success in material terms. Matthew wonders if that is because they don't have as much as the families around them.

Matthew is an A/B student. He doesn't stand out, but he does well when he makes an effort. His younger brother is in gifted classes and seems to get straight A's without even trying. Matthew takes tennis lessons and really enjoys them. He wants to be on the high school team in a few years. He is also very interested in baseball, but he hasn't really played it much. He's not really a team player when it comes to sports. He is an excellent writer.


Matthew doesn't really have enemies because he tends to keep to himself. He sometimes feels like most of the kids in school and in the neighborhood don't like him much. Some of the meaner kids tease him sometimes, but mostly, he is not noticed. He has a few good friends. His best friend is Kyle. Matthew and Kyle have grown up together and have always been friends. Kyle is more popular than Matthew. He finds Matthew easy to talk to, which is important to him.


Matthew spends a lot of time on the tennis court practicing his serve. He plays a lot of computer games and sometimes he and Kyle ride their bikes through the trails in the park. During baseball season, he watches almost every game his favorite team plays.



Lesson #2

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