Specificity is the heart of effective characterization. As a character is drawn, the layering of specific details helps define the character through the affirmation and rejection of possible characteristics. According to Saunders, attention to specificity should in turn create opportunities for "meaningful action."The greater the specificity, the greater the opportunity for meaningful action.
But this can be manipulated with significant effects: the more specific a character, the less able a reader might be to identify with them.
- Talking Heads Avoidance Device (Elizabeth George) - George's THADs reveal details about non-viewpoint characters by showing them engaged in a meaningful activity.
- Place characters within a landscape - The placement of characters within a landscape provide illuminating details that contribute to specificity
- Dialogue illustrates the nature of the character - Use the way characters talk to add specificity to their character
- § Writing
Saunders, George. Swim in a Pond in the Rain, A: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life. New York: Random House of Canada, 2020.