TIP #3: CHARACTER part 1

by Peter Raymundo


CHARACTER part 1: 

The world of entertainment is filled with great characters—heroes, villians, and all the in between.  And anyone can spot one when they see one.  Children who can’t even read can tell who to like and who not to. 

But why?  What makes a character interesting?  Or likeable?  Or both? 

After thousands of years, are there some kinds of….formulas (for lack of a better word) to help with this?

Luckily the answer is yes.  A big yes. 

And even though whole books could be (and have been) written on the subject, I have learned (from people wiser than I) that there are really only a few basic principles to follow.  This is a topic I will probably revisit a lot over time, but I’ll spend the next few entries focusing just on the basics of developing a good character.

The NUMBER ONE way to make a character likeable by far is to make them SELF-SACRIFICING.  That means they put themselves at risk to help others.  They would even give their own life to help others.  Does this sound familiar?

This principle is so powerful that the character doesn’t even have to help another person, or same kind of creature.  In fact, sometimes even the “lesser” the creature saved, the better.  This SELF-SACRIFICING concept is the very essence of all great Super Heroes, perhaps of all heroes in general.

Again though, this is just ONE way to create a compelling character.  And it works primarily to make them likable and heroic.  It's very effective, but it is by no means the only way to make a character interesting or easy to follow.