Sunday, January 11, 2015

Writing your Main Character---From Script Magazine Newsletter

Dear Readers,

How are you doing today? I'm getting over the flu. I feel much better. I hope you are doing well too.

Below is an article from Script Magazine that discusses writing your main characters. I received a portion of this article from Script Magazine. Click on it, and read more. There is nothing like information to help improve your writing skills.

Writing Your Main Character
imageplaceholderJeanne Veillette Bowerman
Online Editor

Most stories have a main character as well as supporting characters. Drew Yanno discusses how to write for your main character and how often to have them on the page while juggling subplots and more.

If you're starting a script or want to elevate your already existing characters, let The Writers Store help. For Limited Time Get 9 Character-Related Products for Only $79.99 ($499.99 when bought separately)!, available for the month of December only.

by Drew Yanno

One of the most common problems beginning screenwriters seem to have is grasping the notion that your script must have a single main character who drives the story. There are two exceptions to this: (1) the dual protagonist story ("buddy picture"); and (2) the multi-protagonist story ("ensemble piece"). I'll talk about each of those in separate posts. But for now, I want to talk about the importance of telling the story through your main character. 

In my previous post, I instructed you to try to frame your idea and eventual logline using this paradigm: "somebody wants something badly and goes after it against great odds." Of course, the first word there is "somebody." Your main character. And that's an indication of the importance of the main character from the get-go. 

As you may have heard me and others say before, it's all based on the myth tale, which has been the dominant model of storytelling for centuries, crossing every geographical and cultural boundary. I believe it's ingrained in our DNA. My kitchen-sink psychological take on this is that we are, at our core, a goal-driven species. In our primitive years, that goal may have been simply to hunt down the mastodon to get some food. Today, it may be to get the big job or the pay raise or the prom queen. 

For whatever reason, we like to watch stories that involve a single main character pursuing a goal. Beginning screenwriters tend to get the concept on some level, but often have trouble with the execution. The result is that they'll fall in love with some secondary character or characters and pursue some secondary storyline for an extended length of time while their main character all but disappears. I'll offer a separate post on the importance of great secondary characters, as well as one on the magic of subplots. But if your goal is to write a commercial script that attracts big-time producers, know that you must have a main character who dominates the story. 

Whenever I consult on a script from a writer who has failed in this regard, I always ask them to guess on how many pages of the script their main character appears. Almost without exception, they'll overestimate. Of course, I will have counted before asking, and when I give them the raw data, they're surprised. More importantly, they suddenly get it. 

Read more tips on writing your main character... 

No comments:

Post a Comment