Character Development Part 2
At the end of part one we looked at building the physical attributes needed to create believable characters, and alluded to the next step of development for the stars of the show, and secondary characters; that of personality.
All of us have a personality, and our place in the world can be easily discovered and attributed to one of sixteen ‘personality types’. Let us take a look at the following image:
If we have in mind our own selves, we can work through each colour band using the bullet points to determine if we are either Extrovert or Introvert, (blue band). Sensors or Intuitives, (green). Feelers or Thinkers, Perceivers or Judgers. Working through this will give us our own four letter personality type.
For example, someone that has traits that put them in the category of ISFP is discerned as being artistic. A quiet, serious, sensitive and kind person, that has well developed senses, and an appreciation for beauty. Or maybe you want a character to be an executive. Someone like this usually falls into the ENTJ category. They are assertive, outspoken, and they are born to lead.
An overview of all sixteen personality types, as well as a more detailed description can be found at personalitypage.com, giving you greater detail in each of the types, than I wish to go into in this article. Suffice to say, delving into these personality types will give you a grand overarching view of what your character is likely to do given any situation they may be faced with, and in turn will make your characters relatable to the audience.
You have now created wonderfully intricate and malleable characters. You know them inside and out, and you know how they tick, so let’s take them for a test drive and ask some questions that will put them to the limits of their capabilities.
- What is the best thing that has ever happened to them?
- What is the worst thing that has happened to them?
- What are your characters afraid of?
- What are their deepest darkest secrets?
- What are their flaws?
- What would bring them to their knees in despair?
- What would they give up their life for?
- What are their thoughts about sex?
- What are they reluctant to tell others?
- What do they care about?
- What do they pretend to care about?
These, and more, are the kind of obstacles your protagonist should be facing in any given story line. These are the things they will need to overcome in order to grow, both within the fictional world you create for them and in the hearts of the audience.
Imagine a character that is devoutly religious, a priest maybe. That in itself, gives us an idea of what the character will be like, and what they would do in many situations, the audience can relate to this character, but that is not enough. The whole point of writing is to entertain the audience with a story of conflict and possible resolution. So let us add some huge conflict into this person’s life, something that goes against their morality. Let’s say they are torn between their true sexuality, and the doctrine of the church, or maybe they are fighting against urges of pedophilia. Now our character becomes much more interesting, now the audience wants to discover more. Add a detective who was abused as a child, by a member of the church, who is investigating allegations into child pornography, and having problems looking past his own biases and becoming angry, to the point of violence.
Now we have the makings of a great story. Two great characters full of conflict, that become the backbone of our tale. You can now begin to weave them together into your arc. Let these characters breathe life into your story, they will guide you through the drama by virtue of their personalities, and before you know it you will have a tale all worked out and ready to write.
Do you have questions about the whole process? Would you like to contribute to future articles, about your particular area of expertise? Then please feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Audio Drama 101″ in the contents line.