Writing Interesting & Engaging Characters Part 2

So we’re continuing the theme of creating interesting characters for comics. We started by giving characters depth with Back Story, and then overtime throughout the story, revealing bits of information. Now that the cast is not so one dimensional, the next step is to give them purpose. Why is this character needed? What is their role in the overall scheme? One of my biggest pet peeves is a useless character. Let’s talk about it!

In writing, you can have a perfect premise, but it will never come alive and become interesting without great characters. Here is a list of types of characters to choose to create when writing your story:

Protagonist – the principle character in a work of fiction.

This may seem like an elementary piece of the puzzle, but we’ve all seen movies
or shows that are hard to follow along because another “main character” has been
introduced. Ballooning a cast is an easy way to make your audience feel like they’re lost
in a crowd at a theme park, not knowing who to follow or what to pay attention to! We
find this a lot in stories where you’re not reading about one person, but an entire team.
Keep the focus on the protagonist.

Antagonist – Someone who offers opposition.

Every story has a villain. If a story only had situational opposition, it would just
be life! This is fine for romance movies and such, but any other type of series needs a
character specifically made to halt the protagonist. More often times in this new age of
comics, audience members will fall in love with the villain faster than the hero!

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Best Friend/Confidant/Partner – Someone to whom private matters are confided.

This is a person that runs the same run as the main character and promises to
be their rock of support. Unless your protagonist is strictly a “lone ranger”, this comes in
handy to introduce back story (see how I tied that in there?) and other emotions that will
give them more depth.

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Comic Relief – Someone who severs strict tension with shtick or jokes.

Sometimes, even in the most epic stories, it’s important to give a slight
distraction. They say you shouldn’t take life too seriously, don’t take your script too
seriously either. Take a look at Spiderman and Deadpool! There’s a reason everyone
likes them despite their uninteresting story. Funny moments happen, but only if you as
the writer let them.

To make a more interesting character, some of these traits can be combined, or even
traded to make secret motives and back story. Even try adding additional types of
characters such as a “Love Interest” or “Mentor”. Combining types of characters make
them more real, and again, less one-dimensional. Is your main antagonist also the
story’s comic relief, and the best friend secretly the antagonist? With your next script, try
this in some character development before you actually start writing…it will help you get
to know the characters that much more and make lines more believable because they
will fit the personality and goal of the character.

By Tyrone Selby

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