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The questions you need to answer if you want to challenge a character

Page history last edited by Steve 6 years, 11 months ago

You need to be willing to punish characters - Joss Whedon calls it 'finding their vulnerabilities'. The theory is that characters who are in control of their lives are boring; you only get to find out what's interesting about them when you destabilise either them, their lives or something they care about.


Robert Towne believes, “The single most important question one must ask one’s self about a character is what are they really afraid of?" When writing, he first asks himself, What is this character afraid of? In other words, what is his or her deepest fear? 


In Chinatown, Jake Gittes, a private detective specialising in "discreet investigation," has a certain reputation to uphold, so he does everything to make a good impression. He dresses immaculately, has his shoes shined everyday and has his own code of ethics. Gittes' deepest fear is not being taken seriously.


Where is the character strongest? That's the area that you attack: either directly or by having other people make fun of it.


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