Character — The Carrot and Stick Approach [Medium]


“Just because you are a character doesn’t mean that you have character.” — Winston Wolfe, Pulp Fiction

How do you make characters that have character? Here’s my carrot and stick approach.

Badly written characters are cardboard cut-outs: unconvincing, sensational, two-dimensional, exaggerated and only there to serve the plot.

Like painting by numbers or dot-to-dot, they’re just there to fill in the blanks.

They’re often stereotypes and don’t have enough flaws or substance to make them interesting.

Good characters are like icebergs — there’s far more to them than the jagged bit that you can see sticking out of the water.

To create them, you have to know what the iceberg looks like underneath the water.

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