Writing Unforgettable Characters: How To Bring Your Characters To Life | Justin Fike | Skillshare
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Writing Unforgettable Characters: How To Bring Your Characters To Life

teacher avatar Justin Fike, Author and Writing Nerd

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class Intro

      2:15

    • 2.

      Character Overview

      10:19

    • 3.

      Elements: Pop

      11:19

    • 4.

      Elements: Flaw

      8:26

    • 5.

      Elements: Drive

      9:28

    • 6.

      Elements: Vibe

      8:12

    • 7.

      Types: Protagonist

      12:59

    • 8.

      Types: Antagonist

      10:51

    • 9.

      Types: Secondary

      8:51

    • 10.

      Scenes: Intro

      3:54

    • 11.

      Scenes: Spotlights

      5:16

    • 12.

      Scenes: Payoff

      5:15

    • 13.

      Scenes: Arc

      5:24

    • 14.

      Class Wrap up

      2:19

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About This Class

Indiana Jones, Elizabeth Bennet, Jay Gatsby, Katniss Everdeen, Jean Valjean, Scarlett O'Hara.

No matter their genre, great characters all have one thing in common: they stay with us long after we close their book or the final credits have rolled.

Join Justin Fike, indie author of ten novels and counting, to work through the core principles and techniques for writing truly unforgettable characters that will come alive for your readers and leave them hungry for more.

This class includes:

* The Four Elements of Pop, Flaw, Drive, and Vibe that all great characters should have

* The Three Character Types of Protagonist, Antagonist, and Secondary Characters and how to make the most of each type in your story

* The Three Character Moments you can combine to create consistently compelling character arcs for every character in your story

I packed every lesson with actionable tips, real-world examples, and practical advice that will benefit writers of every medium, whether you're working on a novel, a screenplay, or just wrestling a new story idea into shape for the first time. Together, we'll break down every aspect of a compelling character into practical pieces which will equip you to create amazing and memorable characters every time you sit down to write.

By applying everything you learn to the class project you'll have created a brand new character by the time you've finished the course, and will be ready to fill your story with characters that your readers will continue thinking and talking about long after they've finished it.

Let's get started!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Justin Fike

Author and Writing Nerd

Teacher

And as a story nerd, I love to talk about writing, too!

I’ve loved stories for as long as I can remember. As a boy, my grandma told me tales of her adventures growing up on the South Dakota prairie as I drifted off to sleep, or filled my head with faerie queens, questing knights, and everything in between. Those stories shaped the way I saw the world and helped me understand my place in it. Eventually, I realized that I wanted to spin stories that would be just as important for someone else someday.

Chasing that dream led me into a lifelong pursuit of the writer’s craft, both on my own and by learning from some of the most well-regarded professionals in their ... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Class Intro: Indiana Jones, Elizabeth Bennet, Jay Gatsby, John vel, John Scarlett O'Hara. No matter their genre or their gender, great characters all have one thing in common. They stay with us along after we've closed their book or the final credits have rolled. But maybe great character is actually have more than just one thing in common. Okay, fine. I said maybe to build a little bit of suspense, but the truth is they definitely do. And in this class, we're going to explore what makes great characters tick. And we'll talk about how you can incorporate some of those tactics and techniques into your own writing so that your readers are talking about and thinking about your story long after it has ended. I'm Justin 5k, author of ten novels and counting at this point, mostly in the adventure fantasy series, the varchar Chronicles, but also numerous short stories that have been published in anthologies and literary magazines. But it was taking all of those individual pieces that I learned in the classroom and learning how to actually combine them and apply them in practice through my own trial and more than a bit of error over the years. That really brought me to the place where I could consistently write stories that people would love to read. That's what I'm excited to share with you in this class. Together, we're going to look at three primary areas that think about and incorporate in order to write truly unforgettable characters. First, we're going to look at the four primary elements that all great characters need to have. Then we'll take a look at the three different types of characters and talk a little bit about how the different type of character and the role that they play influences the way that you write that character. Finally, we'll talk about how to build satisfying character arcs by considering the different scenes and moments that you combine and integrate in order to create a satisfying character arc that achieves the kind of payoff that will make your characters really unforgettable and memorable for your readers. So if you're ready to fill your stories with a cast of unforgettable characters that your readers will be talking about for years to come. Then let's roll up our sleeves and dive into this together. 2. Character Overview: So as we begin this class on writing unforgettable characters in the immortal words of Julie Andrews, we have to start at the very beginning. And that means starting with a bit of a discussion about what character is actually, are the functions that they serve in a story and kind of an overview of the different elements that make upgrade characters, which we will be working through in the different sections of this class. Now starting off by asking, what is a character may seem like one of those painfully obvious questions that is so straightforward that there's almost no point in even asking it, but there's actually a lot of nuance. The difference or the distinction between characters in a story and the real people or our experience of real human people, that they're based off of. That nuance is pretty important to understand. One of the ways that characters are distinct from people is that characters exist on a spectrum between what I like to think of as reality and imagination. The fact that when you are writing a character, you have to be heavily rooted in reality. Because if you go too far into the realm of the imagined or the constructed, then the character becomes so unreal that it's not relatable anymore and it breaks the immersion of the story. But if we move too far in the reality direction, we begin to get frankly, boring. Reality is a bit boring in the sense that reality isn't concentrated enough. All stories are essentially a set of events or experiences that are concentrated down and curated for the reader to experience in a certain way. If we were to take almost like a slice of life approach, then you begin to actually move more in the direction of a biography or a documentary. But even those are edited because if you take every single event or every single thought, or every single action or every single moment. There's no narrative left anymore. So we, as the author of the story, have to be making intentional choices along the way about what to focus on, what to present to the reader. Because otherwise you would just have like an infinite list of pages that are disorganized, disoriented, and boring. So finding the right balance, that's sort of Goldilocks balance where it's not too much reality, not too much imagination, but just right, can take a little bit of work figuring out what are the things that we need to highlight? What are the things that we want to draw out? What are the ways that we want to take elements of reality, elements of how people really are, so that the reader can see themselves and see their own experience reflected in the characters that they're reading about. But pick the right elements and place them in the right combination with each other and with the right contrast with each other to create the effect that we're going for. Which then begs the question, of course, what effect are we going for? What is it that we need our characters to do in the story in order for it to be successful and actually work well as an effective story. I like to think of characters as the fuel of the story vehicle. If you want to use that metaphor or the characters or the element that animate the story that bring it to life and drive it forward. Characters are the thing that we as readers can actually get invested in and attached to there. The thing that creates stakes there, the thing that create motivation there, the thing that make a story, a story, a plot without characters, is just a news report. A great setting without characters is a photograph or maybe a travelogue at best. But characters are the thing that makes a story because at its simplest core, a story is the record of a person or set of people who start out wanting something they don't have yet. Or needing to do something very difficult for reasons that are compelling and relevant to them. The story begins when something happens in the world of the story that disrupts it or changes it for that character to such an extent that they are forced to take unusual actions. Otherwise, we're just watching people make toast. It's a story hat starts when something propels that character into a series of unusual actions. And then the story itself is the progression of those unusual situations, those unusual actions that the character must take in pursuit of their ultimate goal. Hopefully a goal that is compelling enough and motivating enough to drive them through increasingly difficult obstacles, challenges, costs, and prices to be paid. The external part of the story, the external track are those series of events. It's the things that happen too and around. And because of the characters in the external world, the internal track is the really interesting part. That's the progression of the way that the character changes over time throughout the course of the story in response to the things that they are experiencing. Usually ideally, we want to be able to see how distinctly different to character is from the beginning of the story to the end of the story. And to be able to intuitively understand where and how all of those changes took place in one of the reasons that a Christmas Carol is such an enduring story is because the change in the primary character of the story and Scrooge from the beginning to the end is so extreme. And Dickens does a solid job of not just saying that he changed, but it's showing us each of the small progressions of change that happened through Scrooge's experiences in the story. So each step is understandable, is reasonable. We see it happening that internal progression of change throughout the course of the story. Ideally in the best-case scenario, the internal track and the external track of the story for that character and for the set of characters are played out in conjunction with each other. And ideally done in such a way where the internal change and progression is required for the story to be resolved successfully. A question I like to ask myself when I'm working on planning a story is, who do these characters are? Who does this character need to be in order to resolve the problem of the story? And the further apart you can place those two poles, who they are at the beginning, but who they must be in order for the story to be resolved successfully. That progression then becomes deeply interesting and compelling to us because we are drawn to that kind of change. We want to see it and kind of vicariously experience it through the progression of the story. Watching that change happened in the character is endlessly fascinating and endlessly compelling to us as people, psychologically and emotionally. That's kinda the, the dynamic core of a story that we can't help but be invested in. In this class, we're going to look at three major sections or focuses that are going to help us to do exactly that. In the first section, we will take a look at the four primary elements that all great characters need to have operating in order to be fully realized and as effective and dynamic and impactful and memorable as we want them to be. Those areas are pop, flaw, drive and vibe. And we'll take a look at each one of those in more detail and talk a bit about what goes into each of those elements and also how those elements all relate to each other to create a complete character. In the second section, we'll take a look at the three primary types of characters, which are protagonists, antagonists, and secondary characters. And we'll talk about how the nature of each character type influences the way that you write those characters and also influences the way that they function in the story and how they operate in relation to each other, and the different types of characters that all form the complete cast that make up the story as a whole. And finally, for our third section, we'll look at the three different types of scenes which you can use to construct a complete character arc for each character in your story, independent of each other and independent of the larger plot to make sure that every character from protagonist, antagonist to minor characters and secondary characters are all getting a complete and satisfying arc that actually pays off the setup of that character and the function that it is meant to serve in the story by making sure that you include the right types of scenes and understand what each of those types of scenes is trying to do. Finally, let's talk just a moment about the class project. For this class. You will find in the class resources a PDF document that will give you a complete walk-through of the character breakdown with all the different sections that we're going to cover throughout this class. And that's gonna give you the opportunity to do one of two things. And it's up to you how you want to approach it. The first option is you can create a character from scratch as part of this class. You can go through each of these sections. You can either do it as he listened to the videos or do it at the end. Once you've finished the class, go through each section, fill them out, and have fun creating a brand new character that hits all of the elements we're going to talk about throughout this class. Another option is you can take a character that you already have written in a story you're working on, or maybe a story you've already finished. You can take that character and you can kind of run them through the same process. And you'll see where you already intuitively developed some of those elements. And you might also then see where there are opportunities to flesh out that character further. Or sometimes it can be helpful to learn from seeing a character that's already been developed and kind of see where some of those opportunities might have been. To take that a little bit further or develop a little bit more richness by incorporating some of the elements that maybe weren't there, or noticing which elements really were there and why you did it that way. So whichever way you decide to approach the class project when you're finished, make sure you can post it here in the class. I would love to read them. I will definitely respond to them. And I think it'll be really fun for us to learn from each other. Seeing the kinds of characters that we create and sort of seeing inaction. How a lot of this theory gets put into practice. 3. Elements: Pop: So let's start off this first section where we're gonna be looking at the four major elements that all characters need to have going on for them. And we'll start with the first one, which is pop. Pop is the list of things that make a character unique, distinctive, or interesting. They're the things that set that character apart from the other characters in the story. And they're really the first, usually the first things that the reader encounters that makes that character memorable. And it kind of gives them a hook to hang their mental hat on. Like that's what this character is all about. This is what you can tune into and take away as like, oh, that's what they are. Pop can take a couple of different forms, which we'll talk about in just a second. But I kinda like to think of it as the characters like ticket to enter the story. What is the thing about this character or the set of things about this character? That means that they deserve to be here. Like what is it about them? That makes them interesting enough to stand out? And sort of like to grab the camera's focus, so to speak, on them for any period of time. So that they deserve to be part of the story because they bring something to the story. They're not just scenery. What makes them stand out from the crowd? So like I said, Pop can take a couple of different forms. Let's talk about a couple of those. The first one is the things that your character can do. I'm usually you will find this in almost all cases in a protagonist. Often you will also find it with an antagonist are different types of characters, because characters need to have some elements about them that we recognize as either some kind of an expertise or some kind of a natural ability or a honed skill that is interesting and that we can tune into and find fascinating. So e.g. if I was to say, Who is the world's only action hero archeologist. You probably know who I'm talking about because the set of skills that make up Indiana Jones and the things that he can do are immediately interesting and we see them right at the beginning of the movie that he's in, the very first movie, see him putting those skills into action. So if you're looking for action type of pop, that can be like I said, skills which tend to be things that the character has spent time and energy developing. So maybe they play an instrument really well, or they're an artist, or they are really, really good at some sort of physical skills. In action movies, you often see this action stories. The hero or the main character will typically have a set of skills in a particular set of skills to quote me and mucin that they then are going to rely on throughout the course of the movie. But you see this also in various other types of genres, like most Hallmark movies have characters who have action type of pop. You might not think of it that way, but if you stop and think, Oh, like e.g. the love interests, the main character is she's a lawyer up, high-fiving lawyer who has to retire from the big city to go back home to the small town or she runs a bake shop. Those are still action type of pop, even if they're quieter types of actions, because they're interesting things that, that character can do or as good at. It takes different forms throughout different genres. But one place you can look for pop is to say, what is it that my character can do? Maybe a profession that they have that makes them interesting or that doing that thing is interesting and draws the attention or the interests of my particular audience for this particular story. Another area you can look for, action type of pop can be in a profession. So it's a lot of times you'll see this in like police procedurals or thrillers. Working for the FBI is interesting. So just right off the bat, or a grizzled cop that's been on the force for 20 years. Those are types of action pop that can help establish interests in the character right off the bat. When Sherlock Holmes, a big part of what makes him interesting is that combination. He has skills and his deductive reasoning, his hyper intelligence, but he also his job is interestingly key is a private practicing detective, but that's unusual. That's interesting. There's a draw there that just hearing that makes you want to learn more about the character and tune into more about them. What makes them that way? How do they do that? What kinds of challenges or problems are going to come up? There's a lot of interesting questions just baked into some of the pop about that character right off the bat. But another completely different type of POP that you can look for is history or backstory. Sometimes one of the things that makes a character really interesting is just what we immediately learn about where they come from. And very often those will connect because a lot of times your history or your backstory might influence your set of skills. That I can remember. Fantasy series, I read where the main character was an assassin. But right off the bat, the first thing you learn about him isn't actually that he's an assassin. It's the fact that he was raised by assassins and his backstory of what led to that. How did that happen? How did he get placed in that situation? And yes, so that's a set of skills and there's pop, that's action pop, but there's also backstory pop that makes that really appealing or interesting. Harry Potter, e.g. is the boy who lived. One of the very first elements of pop that we get about him isn't so much anything he does because he's in a pretty mundane situation at the very beginning of the first book in the series. But we do learn through a bit of a prologue and some other elements. We learn more about his history, the fact that he comes from this family. His parents were killed, that he survived under mysterious like, that's interesting. And so we're given reasons to tune into that character and care and being curious about him, even though it takes a little while for the character to actually start developing some more action type of pop that That's like an ability based thing or a skill-based thing or a profession based thing. We don't get to see those right away, but she does a good job of giving us backstory pop. So that's another area that you can look for when you're looking for what is it about my character that really makes them deserve to be in the story that makes them stand out and makes them memorable or distinctive from the other characters. The third and final area that you can consider when you're developing out your character is more of a personality-based pops. So we have action, things like stuff your character can do. We have backstory in history like where your character came from or what happened to them before the story started. But we also have personality pop. This can be a little tricky because it has to be distinctive and significant enough of a character trait that is also unusual enough to see that way that we tune into it immediately. You can't just be like, Oh, they're a little bit this thing, it has to be pretty definitive and it has to be something that you can demonstrate fairly quickly on the page. But you absolutely can have one of the main elements of pop for a character. The way that they think, act and behave in the story. I'll really good recent example of this that I thought was really well done is mirror bell in, in Canto, which is a movie I have maybe seen too many times at this point because my daughter's love it. But I thought that was a really interesting contrast because we have a main character who doesn't really have much action pop at the beginning of the story. She's more defined by the fact that she can't do anything special when all of the other characters around her are all defined by action pop like this one controls the weather and this one can grow flowers magically and this one's super strong. And here's what each of these characters can do that you immediately go, oh, that's popped like, that's what makes that character different from the other characters in the story. What makes them interesting and what makes them stand out. But she doesn't have any of those things which is necessary for the whole plot of the story. What she does have is an incredible degree of empathy and emotional intelligence, like the way she handles her backstory is really appealing. Like you tune into her immediate and you go, Wow, she is really trying. She's making the best of what is kind of a tough situation. And she's choosing to be happy and she's choosing to sort of tune into the other people in her family. And instead of having a bad attitude about it, she liked, she really loves them and she likes to help tune into where they're at, what they need. And she has a couple of really great lines right from the beginning. I mean, even in the first few minutes of the movie, she has some great lines that help establish her personality as her pop that develops more and more over the course of the story. As you begin looking at those three different types of pop, and you begin figuring out what makes sense for this character to layer on top of each other. One thing you want to watch for that can be really powerful to take all of the individual elements of pop and turn them all up to 11 and make the character more dynamic is to look for opportunities to create contrast and subvert the expectations of the reader with that character. E.g. when you take one thing that we think we understand, but then you contrast it with something unusual or unexpected that doesn't usually go with that thing, then that can create even more compelling interests around that character. Like, wow, why are they different? What that wasn't what I expected to see. So e.g. you could take a skill or a profession that we have associations and expectations about what people are like, Who are that thing. And then subvert those expectations by giving that character really different personality traits. A TV series that I like and I watched with my wife is the royal panes show. They do that with their main character and gloss. And right in the beginning of the story, he's an extremely successful Dr. in a large hospital in, I think it's New York or LA or somewhere like that. And we have some associations about what that is probably means about him as a character. And then right from the beginning, those expectations are subverted because we discover actually, he's extremely empathetic. He cares deeply about each of these individual patients and he doesn't really give a rip about position or the importance of his patients. He treats them all equally, which is kind of subverts the expectation of what we go into that character thinking based off of what we know about just right off the bat, his job and his skill set. That immediately. Is that interesting contrast where you tune it and you go, Oh, that plus that equals something different. And now I want to know more about where that difference come, comes from. The character scout from To Kill a Mockingbird relies on this really heavily, just the simple juxtaposition of a child character, where again, we have some expectations about what does that mean? What does it mean to be whatever she has, like nine or ten or a younger child, especially at that time period. And then she behaves in ways. She has some personality pop. That is not what we would have expected based just on the simple fact of her being a young child. And again, that contrast becomes really interesting. Think about the elements of pop for your character individually first, as you begin to flesh them out like what makes them different, distinctive, and unique within the story. But then as you do that, you can start looking for opportunities to subvert expectations and kind of take a different approach to contrast different things that don't usually go together. And as you begin to do that, then you really start to create a more dynamic and appealing character that your readers will be really drawn to and interested in. 4. Elements: Flaw: Now let's take a look at the second of our four main elements that great characters should have, which is character flaw. If you remember at the beginning of the class, when I said that a story is essentially inviting a reader to watch what happens when a character sets off in pursuit of some kind of compelling motivation? Flaw are the set of external and internal obstacles that will make that journey difficult. The thing that stand in the way of the successful completion of that pursuit of a motivation, whatever it is, that goal, that thing that they want. Flaw is a big part of the reason they can't have it yet at the beginning of the story without flaw, it's really hard to know why there should be a story in the first place. We need flaws there, both for two reasons. The first is to complicate the character and actually make them relatable and recognizable as a realistic character. Without flaw, you tend to, you're moving more in the element of either satire or farce or some kind of an extreme story where the character isn't real anymore. Because we know intuitively that real people have good elements and bad elements. Real people have strengths and weaknesses. Real people have that mix that tension in play. And it's actually a lot more interesting and relatable to see that same tension in our characters. But the second function of flaw, aside from just making the characters more real and more relatable, is to actually help you develop interesting story. We external obstacles that happen around your character. That's more of a plot thing like if the characters are running away from the bad guy and they jumped in the car and the car doesn't start. That's not a character flaw. That's a plot obstacle that's just been thrown in their path. And now it's, oh no, how are the character is going to deal with this new problem? That's a plot thing. But flaw is the set of things that come from within the character that similarly complicate the progression of the story. And that gives us that same sense of, oh no, What's going to happen? Like, how are they going to overcome that thing? But it tends to be coming from the character, not from the world outside of the character. The two primary types of flaws that you can look at when you're trying to figure out what your flaws are for this particular character are limitations and Ms beliefs. And let's take a look at each of those in a little bit more detail first, with limitations. That is the flaw that is again baked into the character, but tends to have more to do with the way that the character relates to the world around them. So that can be different kinds of physical limitations. So Forrest Gump, e.g. as a character, has some physical and mental limitations affect his ability to relate to the world around him. It can also be social. So your character might be a woman in a man's world, or might be poor in a society that values wealth, or might be lower-class and a society that values class and prestige and your family name or any of those types of elements that affect and specifically that complicate your character's ability to relate easily to the world around them is a limitation. It's something imposed on them or that is something about who they are that gives them either a disadvantage or a set of obstacles that they're going to have to figure out how to either deal with or to overcome in order for the story to be successfully played out. And you reached that conclusion that you're moving towards. Ms. Belief, on the other hand, is a flaw that is truly internal to the character. It has to do with the way the character, either he sees themselves and what they believe about themselves as a person, or what they believe about the world and other people and the way the world works. I've read this, talked about in a lot of different books about writing as either the lie the character believes or characters wound. I like Miss belief because it's slightly less intense because it can take a lot of different forms. But typically a character's miss belief is that internal thing, which again, unless they work through that thing and come to the other side of it and change the way they see themselves or change the way they see the world. The story is going to be resolved in an unsatisfying way unless they actually overcome that. And very often some of the most powerful climax is in story history are the moments where the character actually manages to overcome that Miss belief or overcome their limitation, right in the moment when everything is on the line and the stakes are the highest, because the resolution of the story hinges on whether or not they can successfully pay off the growth that has been happening over the course of the story. When it comes to that, Ms. Belief in this belief can look like things like not fully trusting themselves, are not believing in themselves. Maybe not believing that they're truly worthy of love, or maybe not believing that they can be happy unless they are loved. Maybe Ms belief can also take the form of beliefs about the world. So it might be a character who believes that everyone is out for themselves and you can't trust anybody and then wouldn't you know it, the resolution of the story requires them to truly trust somebody or maybe the characters Miss belief is a deep level of selfishness that they need to take care of themselves first and foremost. And wouldn't you know it, the resolution of the story requires them to be selfless, sacrificial in some specific way. That's Han Solo's and primary flaw as a character in the first-order is movie. It's very clear all the way through the movie. He doesn't stick his neck out for anybody else. He's only in it for the money. He's only in it for himself. And then he gets those things and takes off. And that is what makes the moment when she comes back just in time to save Luke and save the day and give him the opportunity to do his thing. That's what makes that such a great moment and it's a big part of what makes that character so interestingly, all the way along, like we like this character, but we can clearly see how this flaw of only looking out for himself, only carrying about himself, not being for any larger cause or for any other people. That flaw is going to make it really difficult or impossible for him to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Like if the movie had all played out and he hadn't overcome his flaw at the moment that he did, it would've ended very differently. And so the fact that it was the resolution of his flaw in a positive way that made that moment play out so well. It's a big part of what makes his character so compelling. Myths, belief can take different forms, but any way where you can find a clear way of showing how this character is. Some element of a flaw in their character is a thing that is actually going to stand in the way of their successful resolution of the story or of them achieving the thing that they truly want or need that is motivating them through the progression of the story. Readers are really intuitively smart. You, we have seen so many stories. We've read so many books, we've watched so many movies that we are trained up on this, whether or not we even realize it often at a very subconscious level when we start to see evidence of a flaw, we then begin again tuning in and it creates that conflict that interests that compelling attention grabber where we now know, oh, there's a flaw. And I can already start to see how that flaw is going to create problems. That if they can't overcome that flaw, it will mean this kind of ending. But if they can overcome it, it will mean that ending. And that creates that classic moment that we most want as authors, which is for the reader or the audience to be sitting there thinking what happens next? What's going to happen? How is this going to play out? Like, I think they're probably going to overcome that flaw. But I really want to know how I want to see how that's going to happen. I want to see it happen in this particular way for this particular character. And I'm going to stay more and more and more invested. The harder it seems like it's going to be for the character to do that. So as you are fleshing out your characters for your story, the more you can make sure that they not only have clear and compelling flaws, but that you incorporate those flaws into the very fabric of the story by essentially requiring the character to overcome or deal with those flaws in order to progress through the story in order to reach that satisfying conclusion. You, the more you do that, the more you created deeply memorable and compelling characters that readers will be thinking about long after they've finished the story. 5. Elements: Drive: So now let's talk about the third element that all great characters need to have going for them. And that is character Dr. Character dr is the combination of a character's motivation and agency. We're going to talk about each of those two elements and how they influence each other and reinforce each other. I've mentioned several times already how much character's motivation defines the story. A story begins when at least one character is thrown into a situation where they want or need something or are compelled to pursue or do something extraordinary. Prior to that, we just have everyday life motivation and drive is the thing that kicks the story off. And they think that orients the story all the way along. Essentially, a character's drive is the thing that tells us when a story begins and ends. The story begins when the question is raised, Can this character have this thing or not? And it ends when we get a thorough are clear enough like a definitive answer to that question. So Pride and Prejudice begins when we are introduced to the question, can Elizabeth Bennet find real love and find a love that will allow her to be herself or not. And then we are in the story and we know that even if it seems like it might have ended or there's a false ending, we kinda had that sense of the story is not really over because I don't really have a thorough answer yes or no to this question that was raised at the beginning of the story and raised primarily through my introduction to a character's drive or motivation. So a character is that motivation, which is the first half of drive, can be broken down into two elements. The first is things the character wants, the second is things the character needs. And those things are sometimes related, but also sometimes in contradistinction to each other. Character wants are more easy to identify there the thing that the character themselves could tell you that they want, they want to be reunited with their family. They want to achieve a level of success. They want to stop a bad thing from happening, or they want to right a wrong that was done previously. Very often it's something that if you sat down and interviewed the character and you said, What do you want the character to be like? Well, I want to restore my family's honor, or I want to become king of the kingdom, or I want to find true love like this is what I want. And that's important because as we've said several times, generally, an interesting story is going to throw an increasingly challenging series of external obstacles in the characters path. And also is going to require the character to do some hard, often painful work of engaging with their own set of flaws as those flaws become increasingly significant obstacles to them achieving their goals. So at the beginning, we need to have a pretty clear sense that the character not only wants something, but once something badly, like they need to want something significant and meaningful enough to them, it doesn't necessarily even have to be that meaningful to anyone else. But we need to be clear about why it matters so much to that character that they will endure the discomfort of having to be pushed out of their normal routine and set off on something that is challenging or uncomfortable or even dangerous or deadly in pursuit of that want. A character's need, on the other hand, is usually something that the characters themselves couldn't really tell you is there. But it's operating deep beneath the surface and is usually even more compelling and relevant and necessary for their ultimate resolution in the story then there want. You can very often have a story that ends in a very satisfying way with a character doesn't get what they wanted, but they get what they needed. And the discovery of that distinction is a huge part of their growth as a character throughout the story. Going back to encounter as an example, miracle is a really good example of this. What she wants is to get a gift of her own so that she can fit into her family and be like them. And actually, you know, feel like she belongs there. What she really needs is to learn to accept herself the way she is. And even then, when she actually achieves that, when she finds that she's no longer striving to meet their expectations of how she got to be, but she learns to accept herself as she is. She's been able to help them do the same thing and learn that actually their gift is not what defines them, who they are is good enough on its own without their gift. That distinction between what she wants at the beginning of the story, but what she really needs as a character is a huge part of what makes her arc so compelling. So when you're thinking about your character's motivation, yes, definitely be clear about some things that they want. But also think about what they need as a character, what they need to be whole, what they need to be truly themselves, what they need to be complete in some ways. And usually it doesn't always have to be that way. Sometimes want and need art can be the same or can be reflections of each other. But very often it can be a really easy way to create. A very compelling character arc is to find ways to make want and need either in contrast to each other or oftentimes even mutually exclusive, where the character can't get what they want and what they need. You see this a lot of times in sort of hasty movies with a, with a upbeat conclusion where the character, or maybe one of the secondary characters is that moment where they wanted all along was the pursuit of the riches. The thing they were trying to steal or whatever. And there's that moment where they have come to care enough about each other as characters or other people that they actually give the thing up in order to get what they really needed, which was to have the relationship with each other that they were looking for or something else. This is a big part of the resolution of the third Indiana Jones movie. The whole movie along. He wants to get the Grail. At the end of the movie, he actually gives up the Grail and doesn't get what he wanted, but he gets what he needed, which was to find a better sense of rootedness for himself as a character in relationship to others, like who he is morally and who he is in relation to his father and to the other characters. She chooses people over history, which is actually the flip of the choice that his father made, which is a big part of what makes it such a great ending. Because he actually, it's like he becomes the character he needed to be for that resolution to happen. But it required him actually realizing that what he needed was deeper or different than what he thought he wanted at the beginning of the story. If you can pull that off in right there, built into your character's motivation from the very beginning, you have a really compelling arc to follow, and you have the seeds of a great climax and a great payoff already built right there into the motivation of your character. But I said at the beginning of this lesson that character drive, which is the third element we're talking about, is their motivation, but also their agency. And I think that's really important to think about agency are the steps, are the actions or the methods that your character uses to try to actually achieve what they want. And it's really important to think about this. I have seen lots of stories where the character has a clear wants, like the motivation is there, but it's really unclear. They tend to be fairly passive and they're not taking interesting or compelling action in pursuit of that want their sort of responding to the events, the story, and the things that other characters do, but not necessarily striking off to do a thing on their own. And that's just always going to make for a weaker or less satisfying character than one who is pushing the story forward through their actions in pursuit of that one. So when you have, once you're clear about the motivation of your character, also think about their agency. What are the things that they are likely to do? What types of actions are they likely to take? What? And then specifically what are the moments in the story where they're going to do those things. Because the agency that they show us in pursuit of that goal is a big part of what makes them interesting characters like we are compelled to tune into and care about characters who do extraordinary things in pursuit of an extraordinary goal. Just having the goal isn't necessarily enough on its own, unless there's also fun, compelling, character relevant actions that are taken in pursuit of that goal. So when you're thinking about your characters drive, yes, think about their motivation, but also think about their agency that they are going to demonstrate throughout the story in pursuit of that motivation. And when you put those two things together, you have a very driven and compelling character that we can't help but root for and tune into. And we want to watch and see what happens. How is, how are those actions is going to play out the things that they do? Are they going to work or they're going to not work? They're going to create more problems. Usually especially in the first half of the story. They're going to create more problems than they solve. And that's then how are they going to get out of that? What their agency of the actions that they take in pursuit of their want are very often the very things that will create the moments that give them the opportunity to learn and grow and change in relation to their flaw in their pop. So as you think about your characters drive, make sure that you are putting both of those elements down for your characters. And then you will end up with very compelling and dynamic characters that the audience is deeply invested in. 6. Elements: Vibe: Okay, so now we are ready to take a look at the last of the four elements that great characters should have. And that is a character vibe. Character vibe are the things that make your character feel like themselves. What I mean by that is, it's the set of things that are distinctive about the way that character is, acts, behaves, operates the way they exist in the story. They're the things that make that character different from the other characters in the story. And also there are the things that allow the reader to begin to anticipate how that character is likely to act or react to events in the story. There's three primary areas that I look for when I'm thinking about character vibe. And those are demographics, personality, and preferences. So let's take a look at each one of those in a bit more detail. Starting off with demographics. This is often the thing that character profile or a character sheet or a character spec sheet or whatever. If you've seen those in writing classes or books about writing, they'll often give you like here, right? You're a character bio or your character spec sheet will often start off by talking about demographics and for good reason, like those are some of the most immediate things that makes one character different from another. So that might be things like their age, their gender, their education or social background, their family of origin, their physicality, you know, what they look like, what their body is like, really elemental or fundamental things about a character. Because in general, a tall, muscular man who was raised as on the docs or the mean streets, is going to immediately be a different character from a Victorian housewife who is short end doesn't leave the house much in his meek and okay, so those are just clearly different characters based purely off of their demographics. That's one place to start. But when it comes to describing what a character is like or what makes a character who they are. We want to move past those surface or obvious external things like the demographics of who they are and start to dig into some of what makes them distinctive as a person as well. So that's where we begin to get into personality. Personality is the character is adverbs and adjectives, so to speak. This the things that you could say, Oh, this character is witty or sarcastic or loyal, or take your pick like, there's a long, long list of the ways that real people really are. And generally, you want to be choosing at least a few of those things and have them be even more concentrated, more noticeable, more distinctive than, because oftentimes, real people are a little more nuanced and we'll maybe send me, we want characters to be nuanced as well. But when it comes to Vive, I do think it's helpful and important to have a few things that you pick out for that character that are, that are really distinctive, inconsistent about that character. So Robert Downey Junior's portrayal of Tony Stark in the Ironman films, in the MCU films. One of the most significant elements of that character is his vibe. It's his personality, the way that he talks, the way he carries himself, the way that he quips and snarks and has this great one-liners. And just the way he behaves is actually a huge distinctive of his character. As soon as he's onscreen, you know, that you're in for certain things from him. And more often than not, you get those things. And when the character confounds those expectations, it's always done for effect with intentionality where the fact that he is behaving against type in that moment is actually something that makes that moment really memorable and compelling as well. So as you're working out your characters vibe, yes, think about demographics. Some of the things that make Tony Stark who he is are his demographics. Yes, his age, but also his family of origin, his backstory, his affluence, his natural intelligence, some of those different things about just what makes him who he is. That character would just automatically be a really different character if it was a woman, just because of societal expectations about gender roles, such as they are. If that character was as intelligent as Tony Stark, but wasn't a billionaire from a billionaire family who was raised by a cold and distant father, like it would be a different character. Some of his demographics are a huge part of what makes him distinctive. But it's also his personality as if he was very somber and quiet and thoughtful and maybe very sincere and earnest, again, really different characters. So some of the vibe that makes him who he is, is also his personality. And you can think about those things for your characters as well. Give them some clear adjectives and adverbs that sort of orient and organized the way that character tends to behave in the world and respond to things and respond to other characters. The third important element of dr is Preferences. And this gets into what your character loves and hates. Make sure that your character has strong opinions about some things in the world. This can sometimes be related to their profession. You know, if they have a rooted expertise, often a character who has an expertise in an area will have strong opinions about subjects related to that expertise. You know, if a great chef, they might have certain ingredients that they will always use are never used because again, they have strong opinions about that thing. Things your character really, really loves and would go out of their way to have or out of, out of their way to help other characters have distinctive of that character. Things your character hates, feel strongly about, will react really intensely. Two, in the negative are also really great sources of strong character vibe. A character who hates bullies and is likely to respond intensely or respond extremely when they see someone bullying someone else. That's a really good element of character vibe. That's a part of what makes that character feel like themselves and feel like who they are in the story. And again, all of those three different elements of vibe start to play into reader expectations. It's important for your reader to begin to start thinking, oh, yeah, I know what's going to happen here like this. Oh, she just said that thing. Because I, intuitively, I have this mental file for this character where this is their vibe. These are some of the things that they love and hate. This is their personality I expect. And then open up there, they did it, they did that thing that I thought they would do. They reacted in that interesting way. That's a big part of how we begin to get attached to characters into truly remember them and feel like they are memorable. One of the most beloved characters in the Harry Potter series is Hagrid, in part because he has such a specific vibe. He has things he really loves, things. He really hates ways that he carries himself, ways that he behaves. And those things are significant and memorable and likable enough that they make that character memorable after the story is over. In ways that if you strip a lot of those things out, there's less to remember, there's less to be attached to, there's less to respond to in relation to your character. This can totally happen for antagonist as well. An antagonist with a really great vibe is a lot more memorable and a lot more interesting than generic bad guy in the story. A. Because the vibe of what makes them unique in who they are, what makes them distinctive is a lot of what we then relate to as readers and what we begin to both anticipate how they're going to act. Then also it lets you as the author create, like I said, those moments where they play against type, they play against expectation, they do something unexpected and the jolt of what I thought it was gonna do this. And then they didn't do it and they didn't do it for these reasons. That's really interesting and we tune into that, we lean into that. And again, we remember those types of moments. So as you're working out, fleshing out your character in full, make sure you really think about their vibe and be clear enough. Go about the characters vibe that you can be consistent with developing that vibe over the whole course of the story and look for opportunities to play that out in fun and interesting ways. 7. Types: Protagonist: So now that we've worked through the four primary elements that all characters should have to some degree. Let's start taking a look at the three primary types of characters that you'll be writing into your stories. And talk a little bit about how the type or the role that the character plays influences the way that those four elements combine and the impact that the character has on the story as a whole. And let's start that process by taking a look at the protagonist. One of the things that makes talking about the protagonist of the story a little complicated is the fact that the style of protagonist will vary a lot between different genres of stories. So the protagonist and an action story is going to play out really differently or feel different than the protagonist of a romance or a historical drama, or different types of genres. They seem like they might be different on the surface because the style of the genre they're in is different. But if you really drilled down at its core, the protagonist is the character whose movement throughout the story most directly impacts the progression of the story and the resolution of the story. So great, you might say, that sounds fine, but what does that even mean? Well, character movement is really the combination of the character's actions, decisions, and especially their change over the course of the story. A character that is not very different at the end from how they were at the beginning hasn't really moved very much. A character who is extremely different at the end from how they were at the beginning has moved a lot. And a protagonist movement in particular. There, the character whose movement most directly affects the way the story plays out along the way. And ideally, they're the character whose movement is required there, the character who needs to change the most in order for the story to be resolved in the way that the author intended to pay off the ending in a satisfying way where the audience that we, as the readers get invested in it and at the end were cheering and we're, we're all in. Usually that is because we've become invested in the protagonist movement and we want to see if and how that movement will result in the ending. Especially if that ending or that resolution feels huge or daunting or impossible. We're clear that the only way to thread the needle and arrive at that incredible pay-off of that resolution is if the protagonist is able, through their experiences and the impact of the other characters that they interact with and the changes that they go through as they overcome obstacle after obstacle and challenge after challenge throughout the story. If they're able to actually move enough to become the character they need to be in order for that ending to be possible. So with that definition out of the way, let's talk a little bit about some keys to writing a great protagonist, no matter what genre of story you're writing in. One of the keys to a great protagonist is to set the poles of their character arc as far apart as you possibly can. We'll get into character arc in detail a little bit later in this class. But essentially, you want to make sure that the person that your protagonist is at the beginning of the story is as far apart from the person that they need to be in order for the story and the resolution to happen successfully as you can possibly make it. Because the more of a gap there is there and the more that we, as the reader can experience or intuit that gap like wow, they are not who they need to be in order to achieve a satisfying payoff. They're going to need to grow and change a lot. That creates immediate interests like weird then in more and more invested in that process. Because we know that that's going to be really interesting, really engaging. Because the change that happens, we know it's going to happen. But how it happens is everything. And we become much more invested in and interested in observing that process, that journey of the protagonist. If we can see that the gap is wide, it gives you as the author, a lot more interesting territory to cover. If it isn't that why? Like if the protagonist is already kind of okay, like they're already pretty much the character they need to be for the ending. And they just need to have meander through plot events to fill time in the story to get to the ending. But they themselves are not really needing to change or move all that much. It's just less interesting of a story. It can be done, but it's inherently less interesting and less dynamic and less compelling. So as you are planning out your protagonist, I like to work backwards. I like to think about who the character needs to be in order to unlock or achieve the ending that I have in mind that, that really satisfying payoff moment. And then see what all of those qualities, those, those character qualities, those different dynamics, thinking about their flaw, thinking about these different things that they're going to have to grow and change through in order to get there. And how far apart can I set that like rewinding the clock and make them as much not like that ending character as possible, so that you've got a lot of good room for movement. An interesting thought experiment that kinda helps make the case for this. If you think about some of your favorite stories, I like to imagine taking the character from some of the very first scenes where you encounter them. And imagine that none of the story in-between happens. You take that character and then you just drop them right into the conflict of the climax, the big conflict right before the resolution of the story, like e.g. take Luke Skywalker from the beginning of a new hope. And then drop them in an ex swing and send him at the desktop without any of the intervening story from there to the ending. And how would that play out? Well, obviously it wouldn't play out very well. There's no way you would get the satisfying resolution that we do get because the whole payoff of that ending is seeing the ways that he has moved as a character through his experiences along the way that brought him to that point and enable him to overcome that impossible daunting task in a way that the care who he was at the beginning of the story never could have accomplished. That's good protagonist movement across the course of a story. And you want to make sure that your protagonist is able to do the same thing throughout your story to get to your satisfying conclusion. Another helpful key to keep in mind for writing strong or dynamic protagonist is to really focus a lot of your energy on the protagonist, drive one of the four elements. All of them are important. But for the protagonist in particular, Dr. really matters because since they are the linchpin of your story there, the center, so driving engine of the story and their choices and their actions and their movement most directly impacts the story. It's important to make sure that their drive is going to be big enough and compelling enough to push them through the obstacles of the story in a way that we, as the readers can get behind. I've read a lot of stories where it's sort of like, it feels like the way this is playing out is really only playing out because the author knows their writing a story. If I really stop and think about the protagonist motivation is that enough? Like is the fact that they just want that thing or they have that? Yeah, They have a want, but is it really big enough? And does it directly relate to the core plot thrust of the story, the core sort of semantic argument of the story and plot drive of the story so that the protagonist remains that central element and other things don't kind of like overshadow their journey. Again, I've read different stories that approach this differently, but I think at least as an ideal if you are planning out your story and you're approaching like, how do I write a great protagonist? If you can make sure that their drive is both large and compelling and also central essential to the story. In essence, tying it right into the story problem that is being posed by the beginning of the plot, like using Lukas another example, his personal motivation to become a great Jedi like his father, is tied right into the central story problem of Canvas, scrappy rebel band of good, good folk like Kansas side of good, triumph over impossible evil. They're interlinked and the resolution of his personal drive and motivation, it essentially ties into the resolution of the larger story problem at each point along the way. Again, that just makes for a really strong protagonist because their journey is the story journey to a large extent, versus it being something that overhear or incidental. And also it needs to be large enough and compelling enough that we get as the reader like, yeah, there definitely, I see why they're pushing through. I see why they're risking what they're risking their life depending on the genre, but maybe their personal happiness or their reputation. Maybe they're, they're risking their sense of identity or important relationships. There's things are on the line, things are at stake. We believe that they're willing to risk those things in pursuit of their wallet or their need, their drive, and the steps that they take, the actions they take to have agency in pursuit of their drive makes sense because what they want is big enough to compel them to do these extraordinary or dangerous or costly things. Another area of character development that is worth spending some real time on for the protagonist is their flaw. If you can make sure that the character's flaw is one of the primary obstacles to the resolution of the story. Then you have created immediately compelling story stuff that we as the reader are going to be really invested in. Because we see that not only are these external factors in their way, the antagonists, choices or the things in the story around them, they have to overcome. But if we can see how wow, they're not actually going to achieve the resolution that we can feel the story moving towards, unless they can actually grow and overcome this clear character flaw that they have. This is one of the central elements that makes Pride and Prejudice such a classic. Both of the two dominant protagonists, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, their primary flaws of Pride and Prejudice. Those things are the things that are directly opposed to them achieving the resolution at the happily ever after in this case, because it's a romance. They can't get to that unless they, through the course of the story, are able to grow through and overcome those floss sufficiently to allow them to become the characters that they must be in order for the ending to make sense. If you take the two characters from the beginning with no experience of the plot playing out and none of the movement that they go through throughout the years that the story takes place over. And you just drop them right into the ending like they're going to have the same fight that they had at the beginning because they have not sufficiently changed and overcome their flaws that are inherent to them at the beginning of the story. So spending some time thinking about your protagonist's flaw and not just so that they have one, but specifically making sure that the flaw is directly connected to the plot and serves as one of the primary obstacles or barriers to them achieving the resolution that you have in mind for the end of the story creates inherent interests and inherent character conflict, which is just more dynamic and compelling, a way of writing a story as it isn't easy way to create that sense of drive and interests. And like the audience leaning in and getting more and more engaged in what's going to happen? How is this going to happen? Like we think they're probably going to do it, but how are they going to do it? I want to know I'm invested in the story because I'm invested in seeing if and how this character can grow and change enough to be different enough to then achieve the satisfying resolution to the story that we feel is coming, but we're not sure how we're going to get there. That's great storytelling. A final note about protagonists that I think is helpful to keep track of is just remembering that your protagonist sort of by definition, is going to get the most page time or screen time of any of the characters in your story, we're going to spend the most time with them, which means it's worth your time. You can spend the most time on them as a character developing them and giving them more layers and nuanced. When you're thinking about there pop, don't just have them have one interesting thing. Give them several, makes sure that the, like we talked about, that the top has contrast or unexpected layers because you're going to have time in the story to explore and uncover. And it kind of investigate some of those layers and some of those tensions. Make sure you have enough in your protagonist to support the amount of time we're going to spend with them throughout the course of the story. With some of those things in mind, I think you'll be better equipped to develop really dynamic and compelling protagonist that can support the weight of the story and give it that inherent energy at its core that a great story needs to grab the reader's attention right from the beginning to keep their attention all throughout the course of the story and to give them a resolution that we as that will keep thinking about and keep talking about long after the story has finished. 8. Types: Antagonist: Now let's talk about a different type of character which is the antagonist of the story. Talking about an antagonist, I think there's a lot to discuss here because a great antagonist can really take a story that's already good and ratcheted up all that much more. A great antagonists creates such memorable and compelling conflict. And conflict really is the lifeblood of a great story. So spending some time to get your antagonist right and to make them as good as they can be, is really, really time well spent in developing your story. I think a good place to start when we're talking about antagonists is to name the fact that it's important to not just think of your antagonist as like the bad guy, The force of opposition. They are that, but not thinking of them so much in moral terms like, oh, well, they're just bad and we need a bad guy in the story. So here they are. But to actually recognize that the antagonist is the character whose own motivation and drive and direction most directly opposes your intended resolution for the story. I think it's actually helpful in some ways to think of the antagonist as the protagonist of the story in reverse. Like they, they should be compelling enough and clear. Have enough Pop, I have enough. Dr. have good flaw, which we'll talk about what that means for an antagonist and it really memorable and compelling vibe. All the elements that would make them a great protagonist that could carry the story on their own, except the story they would be carrying would be the mirror opposite of the story you're trying to tell. It would have a different thematic resolution. It would have a different plot drive. And if they succeeded in what they wanted in the story, by definition, it would be almost as far as opposed to the way you want to tell the story as possible. Because that opposition will continually make them a compelling obstacle and a compelling agent of opposition that will require more and more and more from your protagonist and the other cast of characters in order for them to achieve their goals. So it just sort of elevates the whole story and makes everything bigger and stronger and richer. Now we talked about with a protagonist that it's important to try to set their poles of movement as far apart as possible, keeping the protagonist with lots of room to grow and change across the course of the story with an antagonist. Oftentimes you wanna do the opposite. It's actually really, I think, more effective to have an antagonist that starts out as strong and as self-defined, at attentive, as, as compelling and overwhelming as you can make them. Because the more the antagonist is, clearly dangerous. Dangerous doesn't have to mean physically dangerous depending on the type of story you're telling. Like if, let's say it's a romance, the antagonist of the story might be a character who is just much more, much more socially established or who has just much more confident and more interesting of a person. Maybe not even necessarily a good person, but they, they just are already more fully themselves. Because the more your antagonist represents that extreme, it sort of gives another kind of kick in the pants for your protagonist to need to grow, to need to change, to not just be able to stay who they are and it's probably going to be okay, but it becomes so much more obvious, more quickly, how much the protagonist will need to change and grow in order to become the character that can overcome the opposition that the antagonist represents. So giving them clear and compelling drive, but also just making sure that you don't need your antagonists to change all that much throughout the course of the story. Some change can be good, but overall, what you're really looking for in an antagonist is kind of, I think of them as like the shadow or that felt the lighthouse on the horizon like that really compelling thing, especially early on in the story that makes you immediately sit up and go, Oh, this is not going to be easy. How are they going to overcome such a compelling antagonist? And then again, you're invested in that question right off the bat. You primarily do that through making sure that your antagonist has really good clear Pop. And again, you can give them some interesting layers of Popplet. What makes them stand out? I think Voldemort is a really good example of an antagonist all throughout the series, h2 right off the bat starts out with some interesting pop and then they layer it. Oh, she layers it over the course of the story where you find out more and more about what makes this character so distinctive and interesting and compelling. They're bad, but they're also just interesting. They've gone to more extremes than so many other characters in the story. And finding out why they've done that and how they've done that is just inherently interesting and we read on to find out more. But you can also do that through your antagonist, Dr. giving them a clear and compelling want or even need. That isn't just bad for the sake of bad, but that you can kind of understand, maybe not necessarily agree with, probably not agree with, but understand like, Oh, I get why that character wants or needs that thing or that set of things so much that they are doing the things that they're doing. I get why they're doing them. I don't like that they're doing them, but it makes sense. And I can see why a character who wanted or needed that in the context of this story would go out and do those things. Again, that just makes for a better antagonist than one who's just sort of a jerk for the sake of being a jerk or You know, an evil overlord for the sake of being an evil overlord or whatever the dynamic of your storage genre is. You don't want your antagonist to just be there, to be there, giving them a clear drive that makes sense and we can kind of get behind even if we don't agree with we're like, okay, yeah, but I get it. That just makes for a much better antagonists, which makes for a much better story. One area of possible opportunity for developing, I think, more interesting or more nuanced antagonist is to think about the way that character flaw plays out differently when it comes to an antagonist character with the protagonist and with most secondary characters, of flaw is usually some kind of limitation or maybe a negative quality that they're going to need to overcome in order to achieve the positive resolution of the story that they're moving towards. But given that the antagonist is kind of all of those things in reverse. And the resolution that they're moving towards is by definition, the negative resolution. Their character flaw can actually be positive qualities or positive dynamics that they have to overcome in order to achieve the negative resolution. In Les Miserables is a really good example actually of that dynamic playing out where his character flaws are, his redeeming qualities that stand in the way of him being able to be fully the antagonist. They kind of trip him up because he has those moments of mercy or tuning into like wait, maybe there's more. It's not just as black and white as I want it to be. And Chavez song is the culmination of that dynamic where he realizes that he can't fully overcome his flaw and fully engage with his role in the story. So you can actually create incredibly compelling and memorable antagonists by giving them lots of good pop, a clear Dr, but give them some positive qualities that maybe make us more curious about how they're going to play out those dynamics in the story and in a way how they're going to overcome them sufficiently in order to fully be that negative force. And the story that you need your antagonist to be that force of opposition that must be overcome to achieve the ending that you're moving towards as the author. Finally, let's talk a little bit about stories that don't have a clear single antagonist character at play. This can certainly happen like you can definitely write a story that doesn't necessarily have a specific character, but you still have an antagonistic force. You'll see this a lot of times in disaster or survival or kind of man against nature stories where there may not necessarily be our character, but you still have an antagonistic force because you need that poll, opposition dynamic in your story. Even if it's not coming from a character, you still need something in your story that represents an overwhelming obstacle and overwhelming challenge to be overcome. And the thing that if it succeeds in its direction, it's in its movement within the story, you get a very, very different ending from the one that you're moving towards a gift. The volcano over, overwhelms everything and kills everyone and no one survives. That's a really different ending to the type of story you're actually trying to tell the ending you're moving towards. So Giving, still thinking, still about the antagonistic force in your story is really important. And the other dynamic you'll notice when you're doing that. Often, even if you don't have a single antagonistic character, you will still have secondary characters who fill an antagonistic role. So you'll still have the jerk bureaucrat who can't get his head out. Its own acid is causing problems. For the other characteristic is not the main antagonist, but he still brings in a character element of an antagonistic force that needs to be overcome even if it's secondary. A lot of times you can still weave in secondary characters who fill that role so that there is still some character dynamic at play. The Jurassic Park movies do this a lot where the primary antagonist is really the overwhelming danger presented by all these dinosaurs. They're not really characters, although in the reboot of the series of relaunch of the series, they tried to make the dinosaur more of a character, a more of an antagonistic character. But you also have the humans who play that secondary antagonist role because you still want to have something to associate that with even if they die halfway through the movie and they're clearly not the main antagonist, it's helpful to have them in, to give us a character to associate some of those antagonists, elements width. But yes, you can definitely write a story that doesn't have a primary antagonist character. In that case, you need to think extra hard about the nature of the antagonistic elements that you're building into your story so that there is still a clear and overwhelming opposition were overwhelming challenge. That is, it's clear why it's gonna be so hard for your characters and your protagonist and the other characters to actually overcome that thing to get to the ending. Otherwise, it's really hard frankly, to have a compelling story in the first place. So with all of those things in mind, hopefully that helps you to be a little bit better equipped to write a great antagonist. And again, a great antagonists can really unlock a whole new level of compelling and dynamic storytelling. 9. Types: Secondary: Now that we've talked about protagonist and antagonist, you might be wondering, okay, but what about everybody else? Like most stories have quite a few more characters than just two. You can write a story with just two characters, but most of them have a lot more than that. The rest of the cast of characters in the story are composed of what I just call secondary characters. And I put them all in that large category. So let's spend some time talking about some of the elements of secondary characters and the important role that they play in enhancing your storytelling. The category of secondary characters is obviously the largest and it covers the broadest range or type of characters. But the thing that all secondary characters have in common is that they are not the main focus of the story. A secondary characters movement enhances the movement of the story, but doesn't define it in the way that a protagonist or an antagonist does. Part of what makes that a little hard to identify sometimes depending on the story, is that, as I said, a really wide range of significance that you can give to secondary characters. So you can have everything from minor characters, which maybe just pop in for a scene like they're the shopkeeper that the rest of your characters talk to for one scene, buy something from, and then you never see them again. That's an extremely minor character all the way up to incredibly significant secondary characters who are there from the beginning and all the way through to the end and they play a really significant role in the story. So that gives us the first thing you need to think about when it comes to all the secondary characters in your stories, what level of significance does this particular character have in the story? How much Paige time are they going to get? How much of an impact on the course of the story? Are they going to have? The answer to that question determines a lot about how much time and energy you invest in developing them. The more minor of a character you're dealing with, the less time and energy you should put into giving them pop, Dr. flaw vibe, all that stuff. Enlarged part because you just won't have time to develop all of those things and show them on the page really well. So when it comes to very minor characters, you probably only want to have them have one thing out of that whole list of four that you really focus on. It's probably either gonna be some elements of pop or some element of vibe because it doesn't really matter, frankly what they want or if they have flaws, because we're not going to see those things played out and paid off over the course of the story. But you can give them a vibe which might be a very interesting accent or a particular character quirk or way of dressing, or some really unusual like, Oh there, this cool thing. They have this clear element of pop that stands out immediately and we notice it right away. And it's just that little extra, It's like spice. It's like a little bit of something you dash into your story to make the scene more interesting. But it doesn't really serve you to give a minor character this really compelling backstory because we're just frankly not going to see it. But then the more significant that character is going to be in the story, the more you start having room to give them some of those things that give them an interesting, compelling flaw, give them a clear Dr. give them more pop or more vibe with more layers and more nuance, because we will have time to see those things developed. Usually once a character starts becoming more significant in the story, as secondary character that is significant will start to take on a particular role in the story. And you can mask it a little bit. But typically it's pretty clearly The role that this character plays it. They are the best friend, or they are the mentor, or they are the rival. And sometimes it can be really helpful, at least as you're starting out, you're thinking about what the character is going to be, to give them a tag like that, to be very clearly, they're there, the supportive best friend. They are the trainer who's going to teach the character. That's really critical skill that they're going to need to know over the course of the story. Or again, it varies a lot depending on the genre that you are working in. But across genres you'll still see some of the same character types or character roles crop up over and over again because there's really only so many to pull from. But in all cases with your secondary characters, it's important to think about not just who they are as a character, but how they are. Character is going to influence the protagonist and the course of the story because it's not their story. The role they play in the story needs to serve the story. Part of what that means is making sure that your secondary characters don't overshadow your protagonist. Sometimes that can even happen as you're writing maybe a draft, you might really, really get invested in the character. It's fine to have really big, interesting, fun, compelling secondary characters. But make sure that they're there. Dr doesn't become the drive of the story or that their flaw doesn't become the central flaw the story because this can cause a lot of whiplash for readers of starting to get confused about who's journey are we following here? Whose journey is going to pay off an impact? The ultimate resolution of the story. Those things can weave in towards the climax and that can be really powerful when you start paying off multiple character arcs in a short span of time. But just keep an eye on that dynamic and make sure that the character arcs of your secondary characters are supporting or enriching the primary story development and don't kind of high jacket or become the story. One of the ways that you can make sure that your secondary characters are enriching the story without taking it over, is to give your different secondary characters, different postures or perspectives on the central story problem that is being explored and engaged with over the course of the story, then your protagonist has that way as your protagonist is relating to your secondary characters, they're also relating to different tasks or different perspectives or different stances on the story itself. And that tension or that contrast pushes the protagonist to sharpen or define their own stance on that thing. The Hunger Games does this really well over the course of the series where the two characters of peta and Gail represent two really different and strong stances on kind of the story problem and what to do about it. And so as continous relates to both of them, she is forced to engage with those different perspectives on the central story problem. And that pushes her own approach to the story problem of what to do about the capital and what to do about the force of opposition in the story. And it's clear that neither one of them is really right for the story resolution. So they're never gonna be like They're not the protagonist. They're never going to be the protagonist, but they enhance the journey of the protagonist by presenting different extremes are different arguments towards the resolution of the story. And that's one way that you can develop a really rich cast that enhances the journey of your protagonist without overshadowing it. For myself as an author, I think writing secondary characters in some ways is the most fun or the most freeing, because you don't have some of the same pressures as the protagonist and antagonist who really centrally defined and drive the whole dynamic of your story. And so you really need to make sure that the elements of those two characters work and they work to support the whole narrative arc of the story you're trying to tell. You don't always have to do that with a secondary character. You can just have a secondary character that is fun, that has a cool or interesting or compelling bio, like a fun best friend who has these, that's fun to write and does, does really interesting things and when they're on the page or when they're on the screen, the audience has like, oh, that's awesome. Because they're not carrying some of the same story weight, but they enhance and enrich the story and really compelling ways I think of Lord of the Rings and some of the back-and-forth dynamic between legalistic Gimli, because that dynamic, it's not the story, but it makes the scenes that they're in more fun and more engaging, more compelling. And they can do that because it doesn't really matter if their central flaw or vibe supports the story as a whole. Like neither one of them could be the protagonist. They don't need to be because they're secondary characters and that's fine and great. And they actually make the story richer. And it just relieve some pressure and it gives you room to play as the author, to create characters that are fun and memorable without necessarily needing to be, be-all and end-all for the story. So now you can take all of that information, mix it all together, and use it to start creating a whole cast of compelling and interesting secondary characters that will make your story world really come alive. 10. Scenes: Intro: So let's start off with character intros. Character intros, or the element of the character arc that is pretty consistent regardless of what type of character arc you're talking about. Because all characters have the time in the story when they show up for the first time, whenever that happens to be. So thinking about how that can be done in some of the ways that you can make your character intro carry a lot of water for you in the story is really important because all characters will have a character intro. So I find one of the most helpful things to think about when it comes to planning out of good character intro is to focus in on just one of the four elements for that character. And really build a scene or a moment that will highlight that one element. Because if, if you can present a strong intro for the character that shows off one element of what they are, even if there's other stuff. If you try to layer too much at once, a lot of times, what it just ends up doing is creating a muddy or confusing picture because it's just this first moment that we're meeting them. If you try to do too much at once, you dilute the impact of all the pieces. But if you pick one thing of the four and really focus your intro on that thing, it grabs our attention, it gets us invested in the character, and it buys you the permission to say, look, if this character has this one interesting thing that I'm showing you, you can be safe to assume that it's got other things I'm going to show you later so you'd stay tuned for more kind of thing. So in a lot of ways it doesn't necessarily matter which one you're going to choose, as long as you highlight it well, so you can totally lead with vibe. I think Han Solo is a really good example of a great character intro the first time you meet him, It's all about his vibe. You don't learn about his drive or some of his character flaw or some of those other things until later in the story. What you see when you first meet him, he has all of his charisma and his swagger, his swashbuckling ruthlessness in this great moment where he does something pretty shocking, shoots the guy under the table. And it's a moment that is such an effective character intro that people still talk about it and argue about it later because it's not trying to do too much all at once. It's just zeroing in on, Hey, here's something great that you want to know about this character. And once you see this, you're gonna be curious to find out more and I'm going to show you more later. But right now, we're just going to focus on this. You can totally do that through pop. Like a lot of James Bond movies open this way, that first scene, It's not even really related to the plot of the rest of the story. A lot of times it's a moment where you just see Bond being bond. He's using gadgets. He's an action star. He's doing all these different things. A lot of times you might see this done through drive, like you might open a romance story with the protagonist showing why they want the relationship that they want, or why maybe like whatever it is that they are wanting or the way that it is going to affect the story. A lot of times you'll open with seeing that and immediately you'd maybe you don't know so much about their backstory just yet. You don't even know so much about their pop or some of their vibe, you're gonna get that later. But in the intro, you were introduced to their drive, what they want, what's moving them forward. And that again, can be really compelling. So as you're planning out the character arc for your character as a whole, just choose whatever you think is one of the more compelling things about that character. And build the moment that they come on the page in a way that allows that thing to shine and be highlighted so that you get that immediate kick of Wow, that's really cool. Like, well, that's really interesting or that is really noticeable. Now that I'm engaged in that, I'm going to keep paying attention on because now I had that sense that there's more to this character that I want to see played out. And i'm, I'm on for the ride. Let's see what there is to see about this character as the story progresses. 11. Scenes: Spotlights: So once you have a great character intro in hand, you can begin then building out the rest of their character arc through a series of character spotlights. So let's talk a little bit more about those. When I'm planning out of character arc, one of the first things I do is I sit down and I just make a big laundry list of all of the most significant elements of that character. I think about there pop, i think about their flaw, I think about their drive and their vibe. And I list out the main components of each of those areas. And then I just start brainstorming interesting moments or actions, or choices or scenes that would do a really good job of highlighting those things. It's, I find it a lot easier to think about it from that perspective than to feel straight jacket it into like, well, I already know the plot. Here's all exactly what's going to happen in the story. You may not even necessarily use all of the scenes that you come up with. But I have so many times I've thought of really actually great moments that if I was only thinking about each scene as one progression of the story as a whole. I might have missed, because a lot of times your character spotlights are not an entire scene all to themselves. A lot of times it's something else that's happening in the scene that gives that character a moment to shine. Ideally, as you're building out your story, you want to make sure that you not only have a good sequence of a character arc, but that you've covered all your bases. It doesn't do you any good to come up with a great flaw for a character if all you've done is think about it and maybe you even have characters talk about it. But we don't get to see it in action when you hear writing advice that they show, don't tell. I think sometimes this is where that can really come into effect. It's one thing to tell me that a character is impatient and that's one of their big character flaws. But if you just say all the other characters are all talking about it and they logo, I know I'm too impatient. I need to get need to learn discipline, but we don't see it. Then. It's just a lot of noise on the surface. But if you're planning out a character arc and you know that that is one of the characters predominant flaws that they're going to need to grow through to reach the resolution. Plans. Some situations where you can see them being that thing and it doesn't have to be, again, the whole scene. It can be in a scene where something else is going on and they're they're going Come on, let's hurry it up because they're being impatient and they're showing you that thing in action. So as you plan out your character arc for your story, think about all the different elements that you are most interested in, about them into the different categories. Brainstorm scenes or situations where we can see those things in action. And then once you've done that, then you can start getting a feel for where would be good situations in the overall arc of the story? Where I could stick that in. Could I add in a nice little character spotlight for this secondary character in the scene where the protagonist is doing this. But there, there could I give them a moment where I could highlight this pop or this vibe with maybe some really great dialogue that brings out that element of their vibe? Or could I create a situation where the antagonists flaw can be really shown well by having a moment as part of this larger plot movement where I also, because I do this thing, if I'm thinking about it, I can create an opportunity for the reader to see they're kind of redeeming flaw also at play. And then again, that raises, is that contrast of, oh, how are they going to like, that actually kinda makes them compelling or good or like, how are they going to overcome that to keep being really antagonistic force or whatever it is. If you've planned it for your character, make sure you plan a spotlight where we get to see it happening on the page or on the screen. And as you then build that out in sequence, That's how you start to construct a great character arc for the story. As each character Spotlight shows us as the audience, something new or something interesting about the character. And also ideally the second half of your character spotlights as they should be doing something to move your character forward. So it's not just show us something, but also show us something happening. Ideally, as you're planning each character spotlight, you want to think about what is being revealed for your character, but also like, how did they come in and how do they leave when they come into that character spotlight there one way. And it, even if it's in a small way, how have they changed or in what way have they moved forward as a character by the result of what happens in the character spotlight that they're in. So that we can experience that character growth and character movement across their character arc. If you, if in each of your character spotlights, you plan not just to show something, but also to move that character forward in some way. And then you build each of those pieces. And you can see, well here, they learn to this and here they grew in this way and here they overcame this obstacle and on the other side of it they were, now, they had started out this way and now there were just a little bit more this at the end and you can name what those things are. Building it out that way will create for you an incredibly dynamic and compelling character arc that you can fit into the overall plot of your story. 12. Scenes: Payoff: So finally, let's talk about character payoff as the capstone, if you will, of the character arc that we've been telling. So while character intros are broadly pretty consistent across all character types, character payoffs, in contrast, are extremely different, depending on what type of character Yard Building them for. The character payoff of a protagonist is really different from the character pay off of an antagonist are of secondary characters. So let's take each one and sequence when you're writing the payoff for your protagonist as much as possible. Again, you want to build that right into the heart of the story. Having the pay off of their character arc be the pay off of the climax of the story and the moment, whether they, where are they break through or don't on their flaw and whether they achieve or don't Their want are there dr. Like that. E is in a lot of ways the story. A lot of times the character pay off of your antagonist and your protagonist will happen at the same time because they are in opposition. So if you'd get the character pay off and the resolution for one, you need to have it for the other one as well. It's not always the case, but pretty often if you look at most stories, the antagonists resolution happens as the protagonist achieves their drive. Because once that has been achieved, there's no longer an open question of whether the antagonists can also achieve their drive because they're in opposition. But really when you boil it down, for me, the main question I'm asking myself when I'm thinking about a character payoff is what would be the absolute most satisfying thing for the reader to experience as the end of this character arc. And satisfying looks a lot of different ways. If it's the antagonist, very often satisfying is seeing this overwhelming force of opposition brought down and beaten. That, that kind of catharsis of like, oh, it seems so impossible. But here we get to see the moment where it happens. That can be, that is satisfying and in some ways can be just as if not more satisfying as hooray the victory for the protagonists, like they achieved their thing. The same question applies to secondary characters. If it's the mentor character. Sometimes if you see a lot of mentor characters like don't make it to the end of the movie because there's a dynamic of that mentor role where if they're there all the way along, the protagonist is relying on them a little too much. So usually in almost all situations with a mentor type figure, either their payoff is that they are removed from the story in a noble, sacrificial or satisfying way. Or they recede into the background and the pay off of that mentor arc is seeing them approve of or affirm the protagonist as they have arrived at there, they give the thumbs up at the end. And that's the satisfying payoff is because the feeling of approval and recognition from the mentor is part of what puts the cherry on top for the protagonist's arc. If you're thinking about a character pay off for a secondary character, different types of roles continue to affect the way that the payoff plays out. Like, I think, of Benny from the mummy, which is one of my guilty pleasure movies that I really enjoy. He's a great example of a very satisfying payoff for a secondary character that totally validates his character arc all the way along. Because in the beginning he's sort of like annoying. And then progressively the choices that he makes aligns him more and more with the antagonist and the bad guy forces. And he does so in this increasingly like irritating and trader is way when it gets to the end and he finally is killed. There's a catharsis there. It's like, Oh yeah, It feels good to see a person who's made this series of bad and nasty choices, get their comeuppance and actually have that paid off. Like that's what satisfying looks like for that character arc. So whether it's a happily ever after or a gruesome demise or whatever. The actual specifics of your character pay off our, spend some time thinking about what will pay off the audience for the time that end, the care and the interests that they have invested in that character all the way along so that you don't leave the, on the note of like either a dud or a Min, like peter out, or even worse, sour note of a payoff that is in contrast to or is it like unsatisfying or feels like it runs counter to the whole character arc that we've been following all the way along. And then we got invested in and then we don't get this payoff that we thought we were going to get or that we were leaning towards in a way that it can be really unsatisfying a week or unsatisfying character payoff can really spoil all the good work that went into a great character arc all the way along. So it's really important to think about and to put some energy into planning out what that is going to look like. And when you do, you will have finished off not just a good character arc, but kept it off with a moment that sort of brings it all full circle and pays off that character in a way that will keep us thinking about them and talking about them for a long time after the story ends. 13. Scenes: Arc: So now let's move into the third and final section of this class by talking about character arcs and the three different types of scenes or moments that you use to create your character arcs. Character arc is the movement of a specific character from the beginning of the story through the content of the story to the ending of the story. And it's composed of a series of scenes. And oftentimes even moments within scenes that keep moving the ball forward for that character in clear and intentional ways. Ideally with a character arc. Every time one of those moments happens, we, as the audience should come away with that understanding that the character has progressed. Something has changed, even if it's in small ways, they've learned something, they've experienced something. Maybe the relationship between two characters has evolved in some specific way. If it's an argument now they're at more opposed. If it's a revelation, maybe they understand each other better. If the character has learned a new skill now they have that skill for later. And essentially what you're trying to do with the character arc is intentionally and effectively play out a solid sequence of those events that take you from where they were at the beginning to who they need to be at the end in order to accomplish the resolution of the story and their specific resolution within that story that you have in mind. So to do that, you kind of have three primary moments so that you are drawing from. The first is your character intro. That is the moment that we meet the character for the first time. And there's a couple of things about the character intro that are important to keep in mind in order to have it be as effective as possible and to set up your character arc in as effective a way as possible. Once you've done your character intro, you then create a series of what I call character spotlights. The character spotlights aren't all of the moments that a character is in because sometimes the character is just in the scene and that's okay. Sometimes they are just, they're they're, they're not necessarily doing something incredibly specific, especially if you're talking about a secondary character arc. They might be in the scene, but not driving the scene, but character spotlights or the moment where that particular character gets to do something really significant for their character arc, or shows us something really significant about themselves, where we get to see their flaw in action, or we get to understand their drive better. Or we get to see some element of their pop being displayed in a really compelling way. When that is happening, you're using what I'm calling, what I call a character spotlight to highlight that element of that character. And again, ideally to show us how at the end of that spotlight the character has moved or grown or progressed in some way. Maybe they're closer to their goal or maybe they're further away from their goal or whatever it is that you're trying to accomplish as the result of that particular highlight. And finally, once you've built your character arc through a series of characters spotlights, you reach the third piece, which is the character pay off. And again, there are a lot of elements about how to build a character pay off in a way that is really satisfying and will resonate with your reader that satisfying penny dropped moment of a-ha. That's why I've been on this journey all the way along. Why we'd been tracking with this character all the way along. They had that moment. And the nature of that moment will depend entirely on the nature of the character we're looking at. So when we get to the video on character pass, we'll talk a lot more about that. But those three elements are how do you build out a character arc? One of the things that's so helpful about thinking in terms of character arc as opposed to just the plot of the story. Like here's one plot for the whole story, is that it helps you make sure that all of your characters are interfacing with the story in effective and compelling ways. And it keeps your character's front and center in the story. Makes for a more character focused story, which is generally speaking, just going to make a stronger story in the first place. If you think about all of your character arcs and then you're kind of weaving them together or layering them on top of each other. By the time you've done that, you really have a lot of your story right there, ready for you to go. There's other stuff, There's other scenes, there's other moments. Plot includes elements outside of just character arc. But when you have a clear grasp of the character arc for at least your protagonist, your antagonist, and your primary other characters like the main secondary characters in the story. And you know what those are gonna be to get from a great intro through a series of goods spotlights to a very satisfying payoff. Once you've done that, you really know most of your story. And then the process of actually putting those things that overlapping them within scenes makes for a more compelling scenes. Just strengthens your plot as a whole and your story as a whole to create that really compelling sense of there's so much going on, There's so much for me to be invested in. There's so much for me to, to care about and follow all the way through and then to feel that satisfaction at the end of wow, what a great conclusion, what a great resolution. All of those things that I was tracking with there, they got paid off well at the end in a really satisfying way. So now let's go take a look at each of those three elements of character intro, character spotlight and character pay off in a little bit more detail. 14. Class Wrap up: As we reach the end of this class on writing unforgettable characters, I wanted to leave you with two encouragements to help you take everything that you've learned and really apply it and carry it forward for yourself. The first is to make sure you set aside some time to complete the class project and use the worksheet that I've included here too. Take all the pieces that we've learned about in this class and put it into practice for yourself and creating a character that pulls all those things together. There's a huge difference between theory and practice. And as we've talked about a lot throughout this class, a lot of these general ideas really get relevant when you start to take the general concept of something and need to apply it to creating a specific character. So have some fun with that. Maybe even do it a couple of different times for different character types. Once you do be sure to share it, I really enjoy getting to connect with and learn from other writers. So I'm looking forward to all of the ways that we can engage with and learn from each other by reading each other's character projects and learning from each other in that process. If you'd like an extra resource to help you expand on your character project, you can download a free character Q&A worksheet that I've created from my website, which is going to basically just help you play 20 questions with your character as you're developing them. And maybe help you pick up on some interesting or different approaches that you might not necessarily have thought of to help you flesh out your character and make them even more dynamic. The second thing I wanted to encourage you on is not just to stop here. Characters are critical to a great and compelling story, but they don't exist in a vacuum. There's so many different elements that make up a great and successful story, like the plot, setting, the style of the story, and so on. So if you want to give these great and amazing characters that you're gonna be writing, the best possible environment is to flourish in and succeed in within your story. That I'd encourage you to check out those other classes that I've created on those topics here, on Skillshare to round out the full picture of a great story. But with all that being said, thank you so much for spending this time with me at going through this class on writing unforgettable characters. I hope it was useful to you, and I hope that you take everything that you've learned here and go out and write someone's next favorite story.