Character Basics Activity 07: Thoughts and beliefs

Characters and their experiences

What they think and believe

We can give a more full picture of a character through their thoughts and beliefs about how the world works.

Sometimes the young Stella believed that the house was haunted. That a ghost stalked Saxby Hall in the dead of night. When she went to bed, the little girl was convinced she could hear someone or something moving about behind her wall.

Awful AuntieDavid WalliamsSource

This snippet has an interesting pattern.

  • Walliams tells us Stella's belief.
  • He then reinforces it with a bit of expanded detail, but he uses a sentence fragment—meaning he talks about what Stella believes, but he doesn't mention her in the sentence.
  • Finally, he gives an example of a situation when that belief is triggered.

There were times that Captain Punce suspected his crew did not respect him. That they were plotting against him. When he entered the mess hall, everyone would stop talking and there’d be a strange look in their eyes that said ‘mutiny’.

I swear Snuffles and Puggles can understand everything I’m saying. As well as any human can. If I talk about food, their ears perk up, but if I mention the neighbour’s dog they flip back. When I ask a question, they meow back as though to answer me.

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