Characterisation is a great tool in a writer’s bag when they want their readers to like, dislike, feel empathy, or even anger towards a character in their story.

So, what is characterisation?

Characterisation is the creation of interesting and believable characters.

So, how do we encourage our young writers at Thinking Factory, to use characterisation in their compositions?

Here are 3 ways to use characterisation in your story

Primary 4 Composition – 3 ways to use Characterisation illustration

Personal Thought

Using personal thought will allow the reader to see how the protagonist of the story is feeling at a given part of a story. In the Model composition below, my student used personal thought at the end of the Rising Action. The protagonist has forgotten to bring her wallet on the first day to her new school and because she doesn’t have any friends yet, she has no one to borrow money from.

Oh, I would be grateful if someone would lend me some money but I have no friends in this school, I thought sadly. My heart sank. I would not be able to eat.

Describe how your character is feeling at different points in your story

In the model below, the protagonist is feeling nervous as she meets her new classmates in the Introduction.

As I walked to my seat in the back row, I tried to smile but I felt timid and nervous inside.

In the Rising Action, the protagonist felt lonely as she watched everyone chatting away with their friends at recess.

They were all friends and I instantly felt a pang of loneliness as I queued at the fishball noodles stall

In the Climax and Falling Action, the protagonist feels grateful that a classmate had offered to help her

I thanked her profusely and was grateful that she had come to help me

She also felt excited to eat her food and chat with her new friends

Sitting down, I looked at the bowl of fishball noodles and smacked my lips. I could hardly wait to eat it. While I ate, I chatted excitedly with Amber and her friends, Angeline, Heather, Clarice, and Sarah.

Dialogue

A character’s words can reveal something about the character’s nature. In the example taken from the model, the character, Amber is a kind school prefect who helps the protagonist. My student brought out her kind and reassuring character in her use of dialogue.

“Are you alright? Why are you crying?” a familiar voice asked kindly.

“Don’t worry. I will lend you some money to buy your food,” she reassured me.

Read the model, written by one of my P4 students below, and have a go at adding characterisation to your next composition and bring your characters to life!

In need of some SA2 Paper 1 Practice, come join us for our September Writing workshop.

A Time that you were Grateful

Walking into the classroom, I saw many pairs of eyes staring at me. It was my first day at Tao Nan Primary School. I was selected for the Gifted Education Programme and needed to transfer to a new school.

“Class, this is Eunice. She is new to the school. Please sit next to the school Prefect, Amber,” Mr. Tan, my form teacher announced.

A girl named Amber raised her hand. Pinned to her uniform was a shining gold Prefect badge. Beaming, she pointed to an empty seat next to her. As I walked to my seat in the back row, I tried to smile but I felt timid and nervous inside.

              A few hours later, the recess bell reverberated in the school hall. All my classmates hurried out of the classroom and I followed behind, not knowing what to do. The canteen was packed with groups of students chatting excitedly with one another. They were all friends and I instantly felt a pang of loneliness as I queued at the fishball noodles stall. When I arrived at the front of the queue, I put my hands in my pocket to take out my wallet but I frowned. I did not feel anything in it. I rummaged in my pocket for my wallet once again, only to realise that I must have left my wallet at home. Moving out of the queue, I stood at the corner of the canteen. Oh, I would be grateful if someone would lend me some money but I have no friends in this school, I thought sadly. My heart sank. I would not be able to eat.

“Are you alright? Why are you crying?” a familiar voice asked.

I turned my head around and saw Amber. Sobbing, I told her that I had left my wallet at home and I was unable to buy food for recess.

“Don’t worry. I will lend you some money to buy your food,” she reassured me.

I thanked her profusely and was grateful that she had come to help me. After I had bought my food, Amber invited me to sit at her table with her friends. Sitting down, I looked at the bowl of fishball noodles and smacked my lips. I could hardly wait to eat it. While I ate, I chatted excitedly with Amber and her friends, Angeline, Heather, Clarice, and Sarah.

              After recess, we walked back to class together. When Mr. Tan asked me if I had a good recess, I told him what Amber had done for me and how thankful I was. Mr. Tan praised Amber for being a good prefect and helping me out on my first day at school. Our classmates gave Amber thunderous applause, leaving her beaming broadly. As the day progressed, I felt less lonely. I was grateful to Amber for being my friend.

              Strangers are friends just waiting to happen. That night I reflected on my first day of school. I was grateful that I had made a new friend who had helped me.

P4 English tuition 2021 timetable

DayStart timeEnd time
Tuesday - FULL3.00 pm5.00 pm
Tuesday5.15 pm7.15 pm
Wednesday5.00 pm7.00 pm
Thursday - FULL3.00 pm5.00 pm
Updated on September 2, 2021