Whether one is writing a novel or a script of a TV show, it is important that they flesh out characters that are relatable, interesting, and worth rooting for. As mentioned by Roger Wolfson writers must provide fictional characters with goals, throw obstacles in their way, create conflict, and showcase their emotions to make them relatable to the audience. Wolfson is a screenplay writer who has worked on many TV series. He has sold multiple original TV series of his own to major studios and networks like CBS, ABC, and Sony.
Character development is an extremely popular term that is used while reviewing any fictional story, whether it’s a book, movie, or a TV show. As pointed out by Roger Wolfson character development is one of the most crucial aspects of fictional writing, as well as a hook into the narrative arc of a story.
Character development largely pertains to the craft of providing a personality, depth, and motivation to a fictional character, as well as enabling them to evolve throughout the course of a story. Any believable fictional character has to be unique and three-dimensional, while having their own back story, personality, and appearance.
Here are a few tips underlined by Roger Wolfson on ensuring good character development:
- Establish the goals and motivation: Great and memorable characters are driven by a deep-seated motivation, and typically have a goal that they try to reach throughout the story. This creates both a story arc and an interesting character.
- Choose a voice: The writer must be clear about the point of view of the story. The perspective of the narrator will largely determine how the information about a character gets revealed over the course of the story.
- Do a slow reveal: According to Roger Wolfson the writers must refrain from revealing too much information the very first time they introduce a character. Information should be revealed piece by piece as the story progresses, so as to keep a certain level of intrigue maintained.
- Create conflict: Conflict is a commonly used literary device that pits opposing forces against one other, and mostly tends to involve the main character. There are multiple types of conflicts that impact the decisions of the characters. The writers can make their main characters go against their morals or grapple with opposing beliefs to create an internal conflict. While enriching the development of a character, conflicts also help in keeping a story interesting and engaging enough.
- Give important characters a back story: All important characters of a TV show, movie or a novel needs to have a good back-story. The writers need to dig into their backgrounds and flesh out their histories. The back story of a character would additionally enable the audience to understand their actions and reactions better.
In addition to the primary characters, the writers should also pay a level of importance to the secondary ones. Secondary characters can aid in illuminating the traits, strengths, or flaws of the main characters.