Relating Character to Story:
Here, at the Character Development Center, we recommend
developing a story in this order:
If you're a brave soul with some
experience, you may prefer "winging it" by letting your
character create the story as you write. Whatever your
style, you're going to need to look at how your character
relates to the story. The basic question you have to
answer is: "Why is this character exactly wrong for this
concept?" Or, more accurately, "Why was this character
once perfect and what happened to change that?"
Through the story, you define and reveal what happened to
the hero to make him illfitted to be in the position to
achieve the story goal. What trauma have they experienced
or seen? What physical or mental weakness have they
developed. Or what was it about their childhood or natural
disposition that makes him the wrong person to be in this
situation. Perhaps he is a former cop who is terrified of
guns after his partner was shot. Now he's on a plane and
finds himself the only one in a position to thwart a
high-jacking attempt. He's clearly the wrong person to
have in this situation.
As the story progresses, the issue is complicated and the
character is forced to deal with the situation in order to
complete his goal of saving the planeload of passengers.
Eventually, he works it out, making him once again the
right person to have in the story to complete the goal.
Which, of course, he does just in the nick of time. Okay,
so how do you pull this off?
- Step one is to create a story concept.
- Step two is to figure out what kind of character would
be the worst person for the concept you have. What's
wrong with them that makes them that way? What's your
- Step three is to create specific story events that
reveal this flaw, then challenges this flaw, then forces
the character to resolve it.
Hopefully, this will help you get your character properly
related to your story.