Category Archives: Characters

This category covers characters from practical tips to psychological theory.

Browse through the articles or use the search box at the top of the page to find just what you are looking for, and may the Muse be with you!

Character Change vs. Character Growth

Main characters don’t have to change to grow.  They can grow in their resolve. It is a common misconception among authors that the main character in a story must change in order to grow.  Certainly, that is one kind of … Continue reading

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A Brief Introduction to Archetypes – Part 2

In my previous article, A Brief Introduction to Archetypes – Part 1, I defined what an archetype is, and what it is not.  Here in Part 2, we’re going to expand on that understanding by revealing where archetypes come from … Continue reading

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A Brief Introduction to Archetypes – Part 1

Writers and narrative theorists often speak of Archetypes.  When they do, Jung and Campbell and the Hero’s Journey quickly come to mind.  And yet, if pressed, most writers would admit they don’t really have a solid grip on what an … Continue reading

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Character Development Tricks!

Here are a few of my best tricks for creating characters from scratch and for developing characters you’ve already created. Though coming up with characters can be as simple as looking to our subject matter and asking ourselves who might … Continue reading

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Why Characters Misunderstand Each Other

This article was originally written as part of an early draft of our book on the Dramatica theory of narrative which but was never included.  It seeks to describe how characters come to misunderstand each other, and how this can lead to conflict. … Continue reading

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What Is Truth? (The Character’s Dilemma)

Characters reflect real people in a purified or idealized state.  And so, we can see in them qualities and traits that are hard to see within ourselves.  One of the most difficult challenges we face every day are exemplified by … Continue reading

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What Drives Characters?

As writers, we all know that characters need drive or their actions will come across as unmotivated.  But what is drive, and where does it come from? At a minimum, every character needs a reason to explain the choices they … Continue reading

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Archetypes vs. Stereotypes

Archetypes represent human qualities we all share, such as Reason, Emotion, Faith, Skepticism, Conscience, and Temptation.  Stereotypes represent the different kinds of personalities we encounter in life. In story structure, archetypes, by definition, are characters defined by their plot function, … Continue reading

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The Four Throughlines in To Kill A Mockingbird

There are four throughlines that must be explored in every story for it to feel to readers or audience that the underlying issues have been fully explored and the message fully supported. Throughline 1: The Objective Story The Objective Story is … Continue reading

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The Penance of the Lambs

In the classes I teach on story structure I often point to Clarice Starling (Jody Foster) in The Silence of the Lambs as a great example of a Success/Bad story in which the goal (save the senator’s daughter from Buffalo Bill) … Continue reading

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