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What does the character want?

The Three Parts of Character Development

What does the character want?

Physical Characteristics

Mental Make Up and mental habits of the Character

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What Does the Character Want?

In developing character in a story, I think the most important issue is “What does the Character want?”

This is the story. We build the story around this issue. If we know what the character wants, then we know what will upset the character, what will make the character happy, what will make the character laugh, what will make the character cry etc.

In developing characters in a story, if we know what each character wants, then we tell the reader (viewer, participant) our character’s position in the universe.

In developing characters in a story, once we know what the character wants then we can have fun putting together the physical and mental aspects of the character to make our story interesting.

What does the Character Want?

The major story line of “The Wizard of OZ” is that the main character wants to go home. Think of the way I said that. “The main character wants to go home.”

Now we would have to come up with a character that is appealing to everyone reading the story. If we make this character innocent, loved, honest, persistent, and kind, young, pretty, female, then with these characteristics, who wouldn´t love her and care for her safety. We have bought the reader of the story.

The major story line of any “Rocky” movie is “Rocky wants to win.” We all know who Rocky is. Rocky is as innocent as Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz.” How can the reader not want Rocky to win. Aren´t Rocky´s characteristics similar that those of Dorothy. Rocky is innocent, honest, kind, persistent, loved, respected. What reader wouldn´t like Rocky.

The major story line of ET is that ET wants to go home (same as the “Wizard of OZ”). Again, the alien is honest, kind, becomes loved, smart, all good appealing characteristics that the reader wants to cheer for no matter what part of the story we are in.

So, in developing characters in a story, the key is to set up what the character wants, and then write the physical and mental make up of the character around the wants of the character to set up the reader to love or hate each character.