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Falling flat on your characters

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, July 17, 2020

A three dimensional character is needed to keep the reader emotionally invested in your comic, however there are a few pitfalls creators might find themselves tripping into, causing their characters to fall flat. Here are three holes you may encounter when constructing a three dimensional character.

Not giving your characters goals
If you want to avoid developing a flat character make sure to give them a goal over the course of the story. If they’re a minor character then there is no need to worry too much. However, if your main character doesn’t know what they want or why they’re in the story you have a major problem. Your character has to have a goal or motivation otherwise, why be there at all? Before you big make sure you're clear about why your characters are there.

Not giving your characters enough layers
Much like people, characters are complex and have more than one archetypal personality traits. Flat characters are often lacking in depth and complexity, rendering them one note. When developing a well rounded character, add more than just a stereotypical character trait. Maybe the character jokes a lot because they feel awkward in social situations/moments of conflict. Complexity not only builds A more realistic character, it also invites plenty of potential for conflict and development.

Give your characters some conflict
People deal with some sort of conflict or problem in their lives, be it big or small. Same goes for characters. It’s in moments of conflict that the personality of your main characters are revealed. When they react to conflict, it highlights who they are at their core. It invites an opportunity for the reader to relate to them be it for good or bad.

How do you avoid creating a flat character? 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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cdmalcolm1 at 1:35PM, July 20, 2020

Mine starts in 1D because as I go on in the story, i start to see and get to know my characters like a reader. It's kind of hidden away from even me until I put the characters in a situation. As a story is created, I develop more traits for the character(s). There are standard traits that I do use. Mean as hell, cocky, or don't give a ... well, you know; to the kind heart, cute, or shy person. However, I have to say. My characters are a bits of my own personality in one form or another to keep them "human". The one place I do have 1D characters are sometimes supporting characters. I don't want them to change much unless they are major plot twist for a later story. What I try to do is have "wow" moments in every issue, which helps bring out the character(s) behavior.

Avart at 6:40AM, July 17, 2020

I'm trying to make my characters a more natural/human behavior, I mean, they eat, go to the bathroom, sleep, etc. Sometimes this stuff leads to situations to develop them more. Just be careful to keep it at balance.

Banes at 6:30AM, July 17, 2020

Those sound like the right building blocks to me. It can be hard to drill down and figure out the big want/big fear of the character that drives them in life. And the big thing, things or type-of-thing that's in the way of that. And that goal can morph throughout the course of a story or series. Then of course, are the smaller goals they want in each scene, and the specific things that get in their way in those specific times. Great stuff!

PaulEberhardt at 6:10AM, July 17, 2020

Too much complexity may make a character appear inconsistent, though. It pays to keep track on the layers you add in the course of their development.

bravo1102 at 4:08AM, July 17, 2020

Not having a goal can be a goal.

TheJolle at 12:43AM, July 17, 2020

Sounds like Disney Star Wars writers weren't aware of these points

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