Characters

Analysis

Seven Protagonists With Terrible Motivations

Captain Archer with his hear to his cabin floor.

A character’s motivation is central to who they are. You could say it’s what motivates them.* Without it, characters won’t do the hard work a plot requires of them. Motivation is especially important to protagonists. If the main character doesn’t have a strong motivation, readers will have nothing to … read more »

Storytelling

Seven Ways to Use Consequences in Stories

The Venture Brothers protagonist stares aghast at the camera..

When characters fail, either through negligence or action, their failure matters little if there are no consequences. The consequences may affect the characters directly or the people around them, but they have to be tangible and meaningful to bring anything to the plot. Consequences can enrich … read more »

Storytelling

Creating Your Villain’s Journey

The Operative from Serenity holding up his sword

Most character arcs are intended for protagonists, and viewpoint characters in particular. But a story can be greatly enhanced by giving arcs to other major characters – including the main villain. Unfortunately, villain arcs can be tricky. The audience rarely sympathizes with the big bad, … read more »

Storytelling

Five Ways to Make People Hate a Hero

Captain Hammer

Making people hate a character who kicks puppies or steals from the downtrodden is simple. But what if you want your audience to dislike someone woven from stronger moral fiber? Perhaps your story has a villain protagonist and a heroic antagonist, much like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Or maybe you’d … read more »

Storytelling

Creating Distinct and Grounded Anti-Heroes

People are flawed, complicated, and strange, but heroes are often simplified and put on pedestals. We don’t need to make everything dark and gritty, but pretending that humanity is spotless limits our stories. That’s where anti-heroes come in. They subvert heroic stereotypes; rather than a selfless white … read more »