Narrative Basics Lesson 1: Characters

Characters and their experiences

Outside: Their past

We can also describe characters in terms of their past. What happened before we met them?

In this snippet, David Walliams tells us about Alberta and her parents by describing their tragic past:

Alberta was twelve when her baby brother disappeared. Nothing in the house was ever the same again. It was not just that little Herbert was gone, it was the not knowing what had happened to him that hurt his parents the most. Of course they still had Chester (Stella’s father), but the pain of losing their beautiful baby boy never left them.

Awful AuntieDavid WalliamsSource
  • Walliams tells us the past event.
  • He quickly states the impact.
  • He then expands over two more sentences, elaborating on the details.

Punce was given a pirate’s hat for his tenth birthday. From that day, he decided he would be the greatest pirate that ever lived. The next 10 years he worked hard as a deckhand until he could afford his own ship and crew. It was there he met Booger, his smelly first mate and best friend in the whole world.

Last year, I adopted Puggles. At first, Puggles struggled to fit in because Snuffles would ignore him. But Puggles was so determined to be friends that before long, the two of them were inseparable. These days, Puggles joins  Snuffles as he chases people around the house, making it impossible to escape a cat ambush while walking from room to room.

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