Do you favor one character over another?
I’m a fan of the TV show Arrow and it struck me that the writers favor some of their characters over the others. It’s just a guess, of course, based on the writing. Here’s two examples from the show:
1. Felicity vs. Laurel – Felicity has all the funny lines & she’s computer brilliant. Laurel is a whiner, but comes from comic book canon.
2. Diggle vs. Roy – Diggle is a new Arrow character just created for the show. Roy is based on the comic book series and should turn into the Arrow’s sidekick.
From a certain standpoint, I can see why Felicity and Diggle are stronger characters and attract an adoring audience. Their status on the TV show is fresh and new. Laurel and Roy are weighed down by a ton of comic book history. It really feels like the writers haven’t found their groove yet, for these characters. Not that they aren’t trying. Each have had some good screen moments. And the actors are likable, but somewhere between the writing and the acting, it just doesn’t work all the time.
It got me thinking about my characters and if I have the same problem. Of course, I can’t blame comic book canon. Sadly. It’s all on me. I have noticed, however, that some characters come organically out of the storyline and others are a necessity. For example, if I need a police officer in a scene. He has to be there and he has to interact with my main characters. He might even need to be in several scenes.
I’ve started to look at those ‘bit players’ in my manuscripts and screenplays. And I see an area for improvement.
Here’s how I’m going to solve the problem: I’m going to find one interesting character trait and combine it with a unique action.
In the example above, my police officer could be a know-it-all and he texts the main character with suggestions. Depending on how I position the police officer in the plot — as a comic relief, mis-direction or helpful character — the texts can serve multiple story points.
I know we want to get the most out of every character in our stories. I hope you do so with yours!