Archive for July 26th, 2013

July 26, 2013

4 Ways to Give Your Character Depth

Carson Reeves of has written a great article about how to give your main character depth and make them feel both like a real person and like someone we can root for. We don’t want to see perfect people who have nothing to learn up on the screen, both because such characters wouldn’t have very interesting journeys, and because they feel flat. People have flaws, goals, and vices, and so should your characters, particularly your lead (but also your love interests, villains, and side characters).

Here are the four ways Carson says you can give depth to your characters:

Flaw – A character (or fatal) flaw is the dominant negative trait that’s held your character back from becoming the person he’s meant to be.  Selfishness, lack of trust, won’t open up, won’t stand up for themselves, being irresponsible – these are all flaws you’ve seen hundreds of times in films.  The most powerful character flaws tend to be the ones that have hindered your character their entire lives. So in Rocky, Rocky has never believed in himself. But flaws can occasionally be a more recent problem, typically the result of a recent traumatic experience. So if a character was recently dumped by someone they loved, maybe their flaw is that they don’t trust love anymore.

When done right, the character flaw is the most effective way to add depth to your character. This is because once a reader identifies a character’s flaw, there’s an intrinsic need to see that flaw overcome. Being able to change is one of the most universally relatable experiences there is. So seeing someone else do it makes us believe we can do it. It’s almost like we’re living THROUGH the character, and that’s what creates that deep emotional connection.

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July 26, 2013

Quote of the Day: David Mamet

A good film script should be able to do completely without dialogue.