24 January 2009

Posted by Zahid Hussain | File under :

To make any story come alive you need characters that breathe, make you smile, irritate you, who throw their fists in the air and rant and rave.

So how do you do it, how do you make a character come alive?

There are so many methods, but one of the techniques I teach is called "Love and Hate".

Take any character...I don't need to know their d.o.b. or their height, in fact, I don't want any of the usual biography stuff. I simply want two things:

1. What does the character hate most in the world?
2. What does the character love most in the world?

Then go deeper:

1. What would your character most love to happen?
2. What would your character most hate to happen?

And then go deeper still:

1. What does your character want more than anything in the world - in fact they would die for it?
2. What does your character not want - and would die rather than have happen?

It is such a simple exercise, but it suddenly makes you realise the inner motives, the powerful compass that direct your character.

But what do you do once you've got this information?

Ah, that's the easy bit, believe it or not.

You start to take away the things the character loves and you start to make the things the character hates to happen...and depending on how you want your story to end, you will either make their deepest want come true at the end of the story - or the opposite.

So go back to the story you were writing, or look to your next.

Look at the character's Loves and Hates. Then make the bad stuff happen. Make the character struggle for the things they love and if you do this right you'll create the most important thing needed for any story to come alive.



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