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Character Impressions

creating a scene and a character while establishing a mood with word choices


Student Writer Instructions:

Almost every person we see in every situation creates some sort of immediate impression, good or bad, interesting or indifferent, whether we’re standing behind someone in line in a store or meeting someone for a blind date. We make immediate, and yes, sometimes unfair judgements based on appearance, clothing, jewelry, accessories, speech, actions, etc., Writers of fiction know this, which is why they rely on the five primary methods of characterization (appearance, speech, actions, thoughts and feelings, and what others say or think) in order to create characters for readers.

In chapter two of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald sets a tone and establishes the character of Myrtle Wilson while continuing to build on the previously introduced character of Tom Buchanon. You will be reading a passage aloud while highlighting or underlining words, details, phrases, and quotes that create some sort of impression or opinion of Myrtle or Tom or the setting. I promise--you’ll definitely have an opinion about these people. You’ll basically be doing the same thing you do every day in real life, but you’ll be looking more closely at why you react or feel the way you do about people and situations.

After sharing your ideas with others, you’ll be writing your own paragraph, poem, or song that reveals a person and creates an overall mood by using methods similar to Fitzgerald’s. Your writing can be based on an actual person or scene you’ve witnessed, or it can be based on a picture in a magazine or scene from a movie, or it can be completely fictionalized. You might consider writing about someone who made an impression on you but that you don’t know—someone at a park or in a store—someone you could actually observe and take notes on but could then “create” by filling in details you don’t actually know.

If you want to create a completely fictionalized character and situation, use the buttons below to get started. The first button gives you a list of potential characters. The second button gives some words that might describe your character. The third button provides a list of adjectives to describe an overall mood or tone of your scene, and the fourth button provides setting.


Interactive Choices for Writing:

If you're struggling to start, click the buttons below for some ideas that might inspire you to launch your piece of writing.




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