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Character and Desire
Transcript of Character and Desire
What would your character do under pressure?
Character, Theme, and Story
Character and Desire
Techniques for Developing Characters
By Mark Levesque
CHARACTERIZATION "is the sum of all observable qualities of a human being" (McKee).
"True CHARACTER is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure - the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature"(McKee).
Relate your character's desires to the themes, or
overarching thesis, of your story. I may be more adherent to this idea than others, but I don't believe any action, dialouge, or exposition should be written if it does not thematically charge your story. When your characters feel true to your story world and your themes are fueled by your characters and vice-versa, the resulting impact
will be felt.
1. "Characters must want something in order to be interesting. And the stronger the character’s desire becomes, the more intriguing the character often becomes" (Mitchell).
2. "Round characters must have both conscious and unconscious desires. Although a character’s conscious desires may shift from scene to scene, the unconscious desire must not, because the main character’s unconscious desire often forms the spine of the story" (Mitchell).
In my story "Gloria Romae", the protagonist follows his conscious desires without realizing they are in conflict with his unconscious desires, he does not realize this until it is too late, during the story's climax.
Find a questionaire and fill it out as if you're your character. Now search your answers for any interesting quircks or
Tandolfo Under Pressure
“Perhaps if he weren’t a little tipsy; perhaps if he didn’t feel ridiculous and sick at heart and forlorn, with his wedding cake and his odd mistaken romance, his loneliness, which he has always borne gracefully and with humor, and his general dismay; perhaps if he were to find it in himself to deny the sudden, overwhelming sense of the unearned affection given this lumpish, slovenly version of stupid complacent spoiled satiation standing before him-he might have simply gone on to the next trick” (207).
Bausch, Richard. <i>The Stories of Richard Bausch</i>. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. Print.
Mitchell, Todd. "On Desire | Creative Writing." Creative Writing On Desire Comments.
6 Nov. 2013. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
McKee, Robert. "Structure and Character - Excerpted with Permission from the Book "Story" - Part One." <i>Structure and Character - Excerpted with Permission from the Book "Story" - Part One</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2015. <https://www.writersstore.com/structure-and-character-excerpted-with-permission-from-the-book-story-part-1/>.
Sambuchino, Chuck. "What Is Character Development?"WritersDigest.com. 29 Mar. 2013. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
"People can be defined by the company they keep, so this can be a good way to define your character" (Sambuchino).
Often your characters can be better defined by one or more characters around them. For instance, an antaonist may act as the foil or anti-thesis for the protagonist. In Christopher Nolan's
The Dark Knight
, Batman finds his philosophical foil in
. Bruce desires to create a world without chaos, a world where a young boy wouldn't have his parents shot in a dark alley. Joker embraces chaos for its own sake, and each character highlights the other's worldview through this contrast. In "Warming her pearls", the interplay between
social status drives the conflict and uses a personal relationship as the vehicle. When creating a character, try to think of ways to create a foil for them. This difference can be more subtle than the Batman and Joker example, but should connect to the themes of the story.
Summary of Techniques
1. Show your character under pressure to reveal true character.
2. Your themes should naturally live through characters, and vice versa
3. Use your character’s relationships to highlight the important aspects of their character.
4. Have conscious and unconscious desires provide additional conflict for your story. Can there be a reversal of how the conflict is portrayed?
5. Fill out a questionnaire as your character in an attempt to find out more about them, creating a round character.