What makes a character strong?

Cheshire Cat in Tree
Cheshire Cat in Tree (Photo credit: BrianHawkins)

When I say strong, I mean a character who grabs your attention during the story and is memorable afterwards.  He or she may or may not have a strong “character.”

Think of your five favorite films. Take a look at the character who leads the story. What does he do? Why do you care?

  • Examine that character as she is presented in the story.
  • His three strongest attributes.
  • His greatest weakness
  • Her three greatest fears
  • His outward goal
  • His internal need
  • A distinguishing character trait
  • A distinguishing physical attribute

Now do the same for your protagonist. Are all of these traits included in your story?

If you find gaps in the story from the list, go back and add the details. You will discover that adding the details and weaving them into your story will make a stronger story. More importantly your character will have memorable dimension.

Make certain that you do the same exercise for the antagonist and the leading supporting role.

The goal of this work is to develop characters that lead the story, that provide interest and empathy for the audience, and that make your story unforgettable.

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