December 12, 2008

Help Me Write! - Character Development

Last post, I talked about what Nathan and I are attempting to accomplish with—the type of story, how we want it to play out, and a little bit about what kind of audience we expect it to draw in.

For this post, I’d like to focus on some of the potential pitfalls of our approach and ask that you help us find ways around those pitfalls. If possible, I’d love to look at case studies (current movies, TV shows, or books that do what we’re trying to do, and do it well).

The first pitfall that hits many hard-hitting, action-oriented, fast-paced storylines is a lack of character development. If the action is non-stop, and the point of view (POV) is third person omniscient, how do we understand the character and his or her development? Only through their actions and behaviors.

That makes things interesting, doesn’t it?

Let me point you to one of the more popular (and controversial) books of recent years, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Place your personal opinion aside for a moment, and let’s analyze the lead character’s development…oh, wait, the lead character doesn’t develop at all (unless I’m missing something)!

He’s the same as he was when the story began. The story is an action-packed ride, there’s no doubt about that, but do we really connect to the character? Or are we just drawn into the suspense, wondering what’s going to happen next?

Here, then, are my questions:

  1. What are some action-oriented, nail-biting stories you’ve read (or seen in a movie or TV) that actually had excellent character development? (hint: think of characters you love, generally those characters have developed at some point)

  2. Name your favorite fictional character and why they’re your favorite.

  3. Provide me with some bad examples of characters that don’t develop at all.

1 comment:

Sherer said...

I really like the character development in: A river runs throught it - best character development i can think of