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How to create a realistic '3D' character

Page history last edited by Steve 7 years, 4 months ago

To me, 3D means a character feels ‘real’. Achieving that means writing someone whose actions are ‘plausible’ and who audiences find ‘fascinating’. I can think of at least 7 qualities that you need to consider.

 

 

1) Uniqueness. Is this someone we’ve never seen before?

 

2) Back story. Lots of juicy secrets, hidden agendas and a colourful past, all just waiting to be revealed in the current plot. My (borrowed) rule of thumb: ‘Never devise a new character or piece of the setting without coming up with a secret about them.’

 

3) Subtext. In this case, subtext means having them involved in two storylines; the pressure of one storyline informing the other. But it could also mean that the character has a secret we know about but the other members of the cast don’t.

 

4) Attitude. Make sure they differentiated from the other members of the cast in the way they approach conflict and think about life. See any Joss Whedon series for examples of this, but especially Buffy from Season 1 to 5, watching how each new recurring character is introduced.

 

5) Sex Appeal – what type of sexy are they?

 

6) Humour - what type of funny are they?

 

Last and most important:

 

7) Motivation. It needs to be consistent from week to week as well as within episodes. Everwood provides a good example. However, motivation is a defining characteristic of 3D characters. The things they want are what we find gripping to watch. So motivations need to be plausible (consistent with what we know about the characters and what the writers know about their backstories), fascinating and unique.

 

 

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