Mr. Patterson's Blog

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Edit Day

Hey Punks,

Today you will be editing each other’s character assignments. As this is our first class edit session, I thought I’d put some guidelines of things you can look for as you edit. Feel free to mark up the pages, writing in, under and over anything you like. Essentially pretend you’re me but without the beard, baldness and dangerously high cholesterol. 

Things to consider:

  • A mix of characterization techniques
  • Challenging vocabulary/Interesting style
  • A clear sense of purpose
  • Clarity of phrasing
  • Inconsistency in the character
  • Potential additions/deletions/alterations
  • Formatting/Obvious typos

This is not a restrictive list. If anything pops out, write it down.  

Make sure you write EDITED BY and YOUR NAME on the top of the page.

Have Fun. 


Characterization Methods

Hey Gang,

I was asked today if I could make available those different characterization techniques that I stupidly then took away from  you when you handed in your assignments.

I’ve posted them here both as a downloadable handout and into the content of this posting.

5 Methods

Hope that helps. Sorry I dumbly took from  you something that would clearly help your writing.


Five Methods of Characterization

Characterization in literature is the process authors use to develop characters and create images of the characters for the audience. There are two different approaches to characterization, including direct characterization and indirect characterization. With the direct approach, the author tells us what he or she wants us to know about the character. With indirect characterization, the author shows us things about the character to help us have an understanding of the character’s personality and effect on other characters.

Whether direct or indirect, character is often revealed five different ways:

Physical description – the character’s physical appearance is described. For example, characters might be described as tall, thin, fat, pretty, etc. We might be told the color of hair, or something about the clothing of the character. How the character dresses might reveal something about the character. Does the character wear old, dirty clothing, or stylish, expensive clothing?

Action/attitude/behavior – What the character does tells us a lot about him/her, as well as how the character behaves and his or her attitude. Is the character a good person or a bad person? Is the character helpful to others or selfish?

Inner thoughts – What the character thinks reveals things about the character. We discover things about their personalities and feelings, which sometimes helps us understand the character’s actions.

Reactions – Effect on others or what the other characters say and feel about this character. We learn about the relationships among the characters. How does the character make the other characters feel? Do they feel scared, happy, or confused? This helps the reader have a better understanding of all the characters.

Speech – What the character says provides a great deal of insight for the reader. The character might speak in a shy, quiet manner or in a nervous manner. The character might speak intelligently or in a rude manner.

Final Thoughts on Character


‘Hey Gang,

I’m excited about hearing your character paragraphs in a few weeks. I’m sure they’re going to be great. Since I didn’t want to add anything new before, our work period, peer editing and presentation day, I thought I’d turn the teaching over to writers far more successful than myself.

We’re going go look at a couple of writers who know a thing or two about writing.

  1. James Patterson

Image result for james patterson novels

The first is mystery author James Patterson. He has recorded a series of online lessons about writing from the website Master Class:

2. Aaron Sorkin

Image result for the newsroom Image result for the social network Image result for moneyball

We’re also going to watch a video of TV/Movie writer Aaron Sorkin (The Newsroom, West Wing, The Social Network and such more) were he talks about writing characters for the big and small screen.

John Irving

Image result for john irving novels Image result for john irving novels Image result for john irving novels

Joss Whedon
Image result for buffy Image result for avengers Image result for firefly

Prompt #3: The name’s the thing

Hey Gang,

For our third writing prompt, we’re going to continue learning techniques to express ourselves indirectly. Today we’re going to have fun with allusions. An allusion is simply when a character/person/event has reached a level of notoriety where they’re name is synonymous with more than their name but with certain qualities associated with that person. Here are a few examples:

For a cheap person: Don’t be such a Scrooge.

To describe weakness: Chicken wings are my Achilles heel. 

For a relationship: Dating Joanna back in high school was my Vietnam. 

We tend to fall on a pretty standard list of these things but I think you could use a lot more of them if you needed to.

Your Task:

Write a short story in which you use allusions as much as possible. Basically you’re looking for as many opportunities as you can to substitute verbs or adjectives with specific references.

This one is a bit harder so I threw this example together:

Bob was always nervous at parties. He never knew what to say or understood what people were talking about. In an effort to not look like a complete Manios, he watched the news before he left but by the time he got there he’d forgotten everything and took his regular spot in the corner. He so wished he could just Salvatorre around any room, talking everyone’s ears off with blind confidence. All eyes would turn to him as he’d Kanye himself from one conversation to the next. By the end of this imagined night, he’d reach near Patterson level of suavity. Sadly, this was all in his mind. Once he let the dream die, he decided to go over tot he buffet and go full Jabba the Hutt on some onion rings.  


Unit Final Assignment and Allegories

Hey Punk,

Last period we basically managed to do 2 things before I died of heat stroke and rose up to heaven where I am currently writing you this post.

  1. I gave you a copy of the unit ending assignment. You have 2 weeks to produce a rough copy of your character study piece. I went over the details in class. Here’s an extra copy of the assignment. If you missed the class, you can get it from me or download it here. However, if you were not there, please talk to me so I can make sure you understand exactly what I’m looking for.

character analysis 2017

2. Secondly  we talked a bit about the importance of using metaphor and analogy in your writing. I tried to explain it clearly but I think the heat had gotten to me by then and I was not being as clear as I could be. I have a handout at the end of class, asking people to experiment with different analogies. I’ll give some time at the start of next class to finish it. I don’t have it here for download so just get it from me at the start of class.


Prompt #2 and Character Analysis Assignment

Today we did two important type things. We did a prompt and then you got a character analysis assignment. The analysis assignment is due NEXT THURSDAY (not next class).

Part 1: The Prompt

At the start of class, you were given the 2nd writing prompt of the year. Hopefully more of you have actual prompt books so you don’t spend all your time transcribing stuff.

Prompt 2

For you second prompt, I stole this idea from a writer’s site of prompts. It seems pretty simple. I’ve cut and pasted the example/instruction right from the site. Here it is…


Use the building blocks of language.

This idea is cool but I think the examples are a little uninspired.

I tried my own. Here’s what I cam up with so far…


Copyright of all images posted on remain with the original copyright holder as noted in the text of "Photoshop Restoration & Retouching, 2nd edition". Images may not be transmitted or duplicated by any means – other than to teach, learn, and practice the techniques in the afore mentioned book.


Good luck on yours. I hope they help us all grow as people.


Part 2: Character Analysis Assignment

The second thing we did shares some resemblance with an earlier assignment but with a few changes. I’ve once again given you selections of character paragraphs from famous authors. However, this time I’ve included a list of character writing tips (5 specifically) to help you understand how these authors go about creating character. I want you to provide analysis of these 5 passages, using the guiding questions I’ve provided. Make sure to write in full sentences and make use of the space provided.

Here’s the assignment for those who lost it/were absent:

character analysis 2017



Fun with Language: Portmanteau or Word Blends

One way you can have fun with language is through the use of portmanteau or word blending. Word blending is just an extension of compound words. Compound words (as you probably already know) are simply when two words are combined to create a new word. You use compound words everyday: Airport, Earrings, Eyeball, Snowman, Thunderstorm and Newspaper are just a couple of examples. In a compound word, both root words can be seen in their entirety.

A word blend goes just that little bit further. A blended word is formed with parts of two or more words. These words parts are often, but not always, morphemes (the smallest possible unit of the root word).


Smile + Eyes = Smise (def: To smile with your eyes)

Friend + Enemy = Frenemy (def: A person who is your friend but often seeks to destroy you)

A fun word challenge you can do is to try to find situations/feelings/things we don’t already have words for and try to create your own compound words for them. Here are a couple of modern ones I think are pretty good…








Image result for funny portmanteau words

Image result for funny portmanteau words

Image result for funny portmanteau words

Image result for funny portmanteau words


Image result for funny portmanteau words

Image result for funny portmanteau words




And so, in these final fleeting moments on a Wednesday morning, I throw out to you this challenge…Come up with three blended words of you own. This is a pretty difficult challenge. I wish I had a simple formula on how to come up with these but I don’t. I can simple give you two starting points:

a. Start by thinking of a word that’s easily blended

b. Start by thinking of a situation that requires a definition

I’m not sure which is easier. I tired both last night and when I did the first one I came up with this…


I know…Look, it was late….

When I tried the second method,  I came up with this one…


So, neither are great shakes but considering I came up with them at 12:45 at night, I think they’ll do.

Doing my work at the last minute….Come to think of it, that’s pretty normalvern of me.

Good luck,