Characters

Q&A

What’s the Purpose of a Sidekick Like Heihei?

questions and answer talk bubbles

Thinking through hero’s journey and story archetypes (newbie here!) and was watching the recent Pixar movie Moana. My question is, what do you see as the function of or reason for a story to choose a relatively inanimate/neutral sidekick like Heihei (Moana’s chicken, that, though providing some … read more »

Analysis

Six Characters Siloed Into a Separate Story

Eleven eating waffles in the woods.

The more characters in a story, the greater burden it is under. Ideally, each character’s narrative will weave together into the throughline, but that doesn’t always happen. Instead, stories often fracture under the pressure of an oversize cast, splitting off into unrelated plots. In the most … read more »

Storytelling

Accounting for Character Identification

Harry Potter wearing the sorting hat

Most principles of character likability work for a broad audience. But when a reader identifies with a character in your story, it can alter likability in ways that are difficult to predict. What’s more, every reader could identify with a different character, creating highly varied … read more »

Storytelling

Understanding Character Karma

Lady Justice sits with her sword, holding up her scales

Character karma is a useful concept that helps us understand how to craft stories that are engaging and satisfying. While I’ve mentioned the concept in many other places, it’s overdue for a full article on the ways it affects our stories. First, what is character … read more »

Writing

Giving Your Hero Sympathetic Problems

Making your protagonist a relatable underdog is a great way to encourage your audience to bond with them. Unfortunately, it’s easy for this effort to go wrong. Instead of feeling sympathy for your hero, the audience might think your character is whiny and unpleasant. The narration … read more »