Characters

Storytelling

Devising Conflict Between Protagonists

Conflicts within Team Good allow us to develop characters while adding excitement to scenes. However, most good guys have every reason to stay on good terms. Without a villain, it can be tricky to get them fighting. As a result, many protagonist conflicts rely on good guys that act out of character or manifest glaring new flaws. … read more »

Storytelling

How to Craft a Character-Driven Story

Lady Macbeth telling her husband what's what.

Some stories focus on big external conflicts to drive them and use a relatively blank protagonist as the audience’s vessel. But others try to make the protagonist as vivid as possible, trusting them to drive the story. The character has some intense desire or critical … read more »

Storytelling

Depicting Child Characters

Portraying child characters can be one of the biggest challenges of storytelling. Even though many of us are around children regularly, kids vary so much by age, development rate, and individual experience that it can be easy to pigeonhole them or simply get them wrong. … read more »

Analysis

Five Characters With Too Much Spinach

Harry Kim looking puzzled as he is shot.

No, this is not an article about Popeye the Sailor Man.* Rather, spinach is anything that humiliates a character or tarnishes their image as a cool badass in the audience’s eyes. It can take the form of a character failing to save their loved one, getting … read more »

Inspiration

Six Subversive Heroes for Stand Out Stories

Today’s popular stories pick most of their heroes from the same narrow group of people, reinforcing destructive stereotypes and stripping characters of interesting variation. But storytellers get a silver lining: we have an easy opportunity to make our heroes stand apart by subverting convention. To get started, take some worthy people who … read more »