What makes a compelling character in a book or movie

2 Feb

Mystery and Intrigue are the bloodline which bring the characters to life on paper or screen. Whether it is a racy romance from the Mills & Boon collection or a Diary of Bridget Jones which follows a linear pattern of storytelling, remarks like “She tucked the stray strand of hair behind her ear” and “Heated, flushed look to his cheeks” give tell-tale signs for you to form opinion of what s/he will do or react when a situation in the plot unfolds, compelling you to immerse yourself in their role. Even a story with a single character, like Ayn Rand’s Equality from the book Anthem, with his exclusive use of plural pronouns, shapes in our minds the irrationality of the Dark Ages he inhabits.

Fiction or non-fiction, characters propel the story forward by acting and reacting to and with each other. Building  them right is an art. I find Holly Lisle’s article on How to create a character a valuable start point.


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