Character Development is what motivates me in my writing, reading and watching of film and television.
I am sure it has driven my close people a bit nuts to listen to me poke holes in plots as I watch/read them, and even more so when I see a character that doesn't hold up.
People are complex and layered. Showing that through the written and performance mediums is easier said then done and I will be the first to say that the art form of character development is a craft I am still learning.
Over the past few months I have been working alongside Kirstin Howell to develop strong female characters for a television series. I am consistently challenged by her edits to develop these women to be multi-dimentional.
As a society we like stereotypes because they are easier to understand and quick to put together. Thats the problem, people are not easy to understand and there are layers upon layers of life that create a person to be who they are and to do the things they do. No one is just one stereotype. We may be born to have certain personality traits and certain ways of doing life, but that doesn't mean we can't divert from that. In fact, more often than not, we do.
Through this process I am learning to challenge what I think of my characters and admit that as a writer I don't know everything that informs their decision yet and I may never will. Writers are not God, they are conduits for a story that the characters speak from. I think anyone who has written for the integrity of the story realizes that they are there to serve the characters and their story.
The writer serves the characters, the characters don't serve the writer.
The fun part of my work is that this all applies to real life. I can only assume that I will never know the whole of a person, but I can be present with them and with myself. I can allow myself to believe that we are more complex than an 'assumption'. Life isn't as simple as a statement or a stereotype. Life goes deep and we'd better be ready to get dirty in the process.
Strong Characters I Adore:
Jane Eyre - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Christina Yang - Greys Anatomy by Shonda Rhymes
Aibileen Clark - The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Phillip Jennings - The Americans by Joe Weisberg
Sansa Stark - Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin