A good story has a protagonist, goals, and opposition. Opposition includes obstacles and forces of nature, but typically opposition also takes the form of a character. Sometimes the opposition is another protagonist, leaving the audience to choose who they want to root for, but many stories include at least one villain, a character that is definitively “wrong”. Villains can be narrative or mechanical.
Where To Start
One of the longstanding challenges is writing characters who are different from the author. Everyone has a unique identity, and part of that identity is their age, their gender, and their ethnic heritage. In short, how does an author write from the perspective of “other characters”?
Every character goes on a figurative journey; they begin with a dream or goal, struggle with challenges, reach a crisis, and make a choice. But each character’s journey is unique to them. Some advance faster than others, and many start and end at different times.
III. Crisis, Epiphany, and Resolution
In the beginning the crises are small, but over time they build in magnitude, pushing the character closer to a breaking point. Eventually there comes a moment when the stakes are high, and the character is uncertain. Whether through anger, fear, despair, or desire, the character is torn between the call to be a hero, and the temptation to be a villain.
I. It Begins with a Goal
Every character starts with a goal, usually a desire to change things. This goal takes the form of 4 distinct roles; adventurer, achiever, victim, and leader.