A Walk In The Park: An exercise in Characterization.

From the shoes I wore in the Writers Guild.

(We breathe life into our stories by showing  instead of telling. Paint a picture with your words that transports the reader. – Laura Bailey)

An exercise in Characterization.

The old man walked to the park in the early afternoon.  He’d walked there over the years, holding the tiny hand of his little girl who skipped along beside him. When she had grown, he walked alone carrying a book or the evening paper until once again he would walk the familiar route holding the tiny hand of his granddaughter.

Not much had changed in the park over the last fifty years.  The ducks still haggle over bread crumbs and the elms still spread their restful shade over his favorite bench.  He alone had changed.

His wavy black hair had faded like autumn leaves into downy white patches. The sky blue eyes that sparkled with boyish charm had clouded and dimmed. The handsome young man who sat upon the shaded bench now sat there like a broken doll left behind by some little girl who had run away to play.

With the gentle music of children’s laughter, his mind returned to the days of little girls running in the sun.  He smiled to himself, oblivious to his striped pajamas and slippered feet.

The young woman who had come to stand beside him, for a moment, also seemed to drift into some distant memory.  “I thought I’d find you here, grandpa.” She said.  “You shouldn’t wander off like that.”

A spark of recognition seemed to flash across his face, then calling her by her mother’s name, he took her hand.

Characterization is the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character.


An acronym, PAIRS, can help you recall the five methods of characterization: physical description, action, inner thoughts, reactions, and speech. 
 Practicing Characterizations can help build and develope a stable of characters that you may seemlessly use in multitudes of  writing.  Consider building a “character” file from which you may pull from then practice injecting them into your the stories you want to write.
Happy writing, Friends!
Always with Love – Laura 💕



©Laura M. Bailey, All the shoes I wear & writing down the Bones, 1990–Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Laura M. Bailey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. A limping child, an older dog, and three tame ducks made their way along the rocky shore, looking for a missing shoe. Words that paint pictures and speak to the soul…thanks for a great post and excellent guidance! Hope God stops by your place for a chat and refreshments today :).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As an English/speech teacher I always told my students, “Don’t tell me, SHOW me.” You did such a wonderful job here. What a beautiful picture of a sweet man. ❤
    (I got teary-eyed reading this. I do hope the virus is gone soon, so we can start holding our grandchildren's hands again.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:
    My Featured Blogger this week is Laura M. Bailey of All the Shoes I Wear. Laura is a writer whose insights come from a colorful, wildly varied life. Her writing is informed, she explains, by “all the shoes I’ve worn…from beach baby to city girl, wife, mother…construction worker, grease monkey, tattoo studio owner, race horse breeder, poet…” But most of all, she says, it comes from being “a flawed human profoundly in love with God.” Those “shoes” show in this warm character piece and, indeed, in all the posts she writes. Enjoy!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi!
      Omgosh! Thank you so much! Hope you had a wonderful 4th as well! My husbands birthday is today so 4 of our 5 kids, with their families, were all able to come visit as for 5 days! It’s been hectic, exciting and full of ecstatic playfulness here on the lake.
      An added gift, was the revealing that we are to have yet another grandchild who will arrive in February!
      I am exhausted, thread bare and could not be happier 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent characterization! I got sidetracked by the image of the grandpa with his grandchild. (That’s my fantasy.) I know it will eventually happen as my son is a good man who the right woman will have the good fortune of marrying.

    Liked by 3 people

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