Thursday, December 22, 2016

Problematic Characters (part 4)

That villainous character could become a lot more interesting if you present him with a possible angle towards redemption. Maybe he's coming from a background that puts him at odds with the rest of the characters, but one of those characters begins to realize he's just misunderstood and tries to help others see him in a new light. Perhaps he is as problematic as you present him, but he begins to undergo a transformation because of what he goes through with the other characters. Perhaps he is shown compassion or given something he's never had before, and this softens him or changes his perspective. Or maybe he suddenly becomes the unexpected hero through circumstances or his actions—perhaps it was even an accident that he became the hero! The key is in giving your problematic character motivation and background. You can even use the angle I've seen in a lot of Japanese anime: reveal the villain's motives to the audience in a way that helps them identify with him, understand him, and even sympathize with him to the point that they can't exactly blame him for being the flawed character that he is—in a way that almost makes one say, “If I were in those circumstances, I might do the same things!” Ultimately, if you want that character to have depth, you need to develop him. If the problematic character changes and develops throughout the plot, he often becomes the very hook that keeps the reader with the story!

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