Abstract: When a character is introduced in a narrative text, his/her aspect and personality are constructed by the reader on the basis both of information found in the text and of inferences actively produced by the readers. The first perception of a character is likely to change in the course of reading, as the reader encounters new information and activates relevant inferences: this changes in the state of the mind are components of reading pleasure. The type of the information given by the narrator depends on his/her priorities. Therefore, the reader receives information on the character and, at the same time, on the narrator's priorities. In the course of his/her act of reading, the reader activates, in his memory, material to be used in his concretization. In this way, s/he introduces new information; what is not explicitly described may be concretized differently by different readers. At the same time, the act of reading is very selective, removing information that is considered irrelevant. If the reader is then asked about information which has not been maintained in memory, s/he may be unable to recover it in full and may be forced to draw inferences that lead to results that are different from the text's surface. In this paper we examine the way in which six characters are introduced in Italian novels by Gadda, Manzoni, Moravia, Svevo, Tarchetti and Vassalli. Participants were asked to read passages from the texts where the characters were presented for the first time and then summarize the passages and answer some questions. In our examination of the answers, every time we find information that was not given in the texts, we have evidence of material coming from the readers' inferences and world knowledge. This study shows how characters can be concretized differently by different readers, particularly in relation to gender and education.