Direct characterisation occurs when a writer portrays a character to the reader directly, typically through narrative. The author will provide information about the character to the reader. These features will include the character's physical appearance, demeanor, and motivations. An example of direct characterization would be Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.
Characterization is the act of portraying a person or thing vividly in your writing. You can characterize someone by describing their actions, traits, feelings, etc. Without giving away too much information, you want readers to understand what kind of person this character is by showing, not telling. For example, if I were to write about a character named John who is quiet and keeps to himself, I could describe him as follows: quiet, kept to himself. There you go: two characteristics that define this character. He's quiet because he doesn't talk much; he keeps to himself because he wants to avoid conflict. Characterization is an important part of writing fiction because it helps readers understand what is going on in the story and connects them to the characters.
In literature classes, professors often ask students to characterize a figure from history or mythology. For example, one professor might request that students describe Alexander the Great using only his virtues. This exercise is useful for students to practice their characterization skills because they are given a limited amount of time to write about a famous person.
The use of descriptive adjectives, epithets, or phrases by an author or another character in the tale to characterize or reveal a character is referred to as direct characterisation. This can be done by using words associated with that character's personality trait to describe others (or themselves). For example, Sherlock Holmes is described as "a remarkable man", "the one great detective", "one of our most brilliant investigators", and so on.
Indirect characterisation involves describing a character by their relationship to other characters in the story or novel. For example, we could say that John Watson is a long-standing friend of Sherlock Holmes, or that Lucy Moran is the sister of Charles Xavier. These are examples of indirect characterisation because they do not directly describe the characters' traits but rather hint at them through their relationships to other characters.
Direct characterisation is used by authors to create three-dimensional characters who are more than just sketches of personality. By giving each character a description that clearly reveals their personality trait, authors make their stories more engaging and interesting to read about.
It is considered one of the most effective tools in fiction writing for drawing readers into the story and making them want to learn more about the characters.
Direct characterization can be used in narration, dialogue, and action descriptions. It can also help build tension and intrigue in your story. As you write stories, you will likely come across characters who interest you enough to want to know more about them. Direct characterization is one way to do this without overloading the reader with information. Let them make their own judgments about the characters by showing not telling.
This form of characterization is different from indirect characterization which uses details such as the character's appearance, voice, attitude, etc. to suggest rather than describe traits. For example, if I had to name one movie that changed my perspective on direct characterization it would be James Cameron's 2009 film Avatar. The movie tells us almost everything we need to know about the main character through his voice-over. He is a human being living in a foreign world full of exotic creatures so we are given glimpses of his life through their eyes.
When the narrator tells the reader anything about a character, this is known as direct characterisation. Indirect characterisation occurs when the narrator reveals information about a character to the reader by the character's actions, what the character says, or what other characters say.
For example, in The Scarlet Letter, the character of Hester Prynne is directly characterized by the fact that she is "a proud, passionate woman, with a scarlet letter on her breast." By saying this, the author is directly telling the reader something about Hester. She is proud and passionate and has earned the respect of her community by suffering for her sin.
In contrast, in Moby-Dick, the character of Captain Ahab is indirectly characterized by the fact that he is "a man of intense passions, bent on revenge." Here, the author isn't telling the reader anything new about Ahab; instead, he is revealing something about himself through Ahab. The author is showing that Ahab is obsessive about revenge by describing his obsession as if it were something visible inside of him.
As you can see, direct characterization tells the reader something new about a character; in contrast, indirect characterisation reveals something about the writer/narrator's view of the world and their characters.