The lifeblood of your comic is the characters in it. They offer a way for the audience to be invested in the world and contextualise any conflicts that will inevitably occur. So it is important that the characters don’t come across as flat. A flat character is one dimensional. They have maybe one or two personality traits but that’s about it. What does it mean to have a flat character? Let’s find out.
Flat characters don’t have layers
People are more than a walking trope and the same goes for characters. They’re complex and
Have more than one archetypal quality. Flat characters will not go beyond that label. They’re often lacking in depth. If you’re developing a more rounded character try and add more than just a stereotypical character trait. Maybe the character is jokes a lot because they’re trying to deflect how they really feel. Maybe they’re a jerk because they’re home life is hard. By adding complexity you not only have a more realistic character, you also invite potential points of conflict.
Flat characters don’t have goals
If your character does not have a goal over the course of the story then you have written a flat character. If they’re a minor character then there is no need to worry. However, if your protagonist doesn’t know what they want or why they’re there in the first place you have a problem. Your character has to have a goal or motivation otherwise, why be there at all? Once you have that worked out, you a step closer to a more well-rounded character.
Flat characters aren’t dealing with conflicts
Most people are dealing with some sort of problem in their lives, be it big or small. It’s in these moments that the personality is revealed. A character may be falling flat if they are not being challenged. When a character reacts to conflict, it highlights who they are at their core as well as inviting an opportunity for the audience to empathise with them be it for good or bad.
Have you ever created a flat character? Do you think they are necessarily a bad thing? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!
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Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Aug. 23, 2019
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