Elaboration of Motive

The most important tool that will help your audience believe in your characters is elaboration of motive. If you don’t tell your audience what a character’s motives are, the audience will assume the obvious motive: a simple, single motive, a naked archetype or a cliché. To make characters more believable, more real, we give them more complex, even contradictory motives, and we justify them better. In the heroic fantasy film Conan the Barbarian, young Conan’s mother is killed before his … Learn More →

Characterization Exercises

“Interview” your character to gauge attitude. Pretend he or she is sitting across from you. Ask, “What do you think about life?” Then take down a monologue, as quickly as it pours out of your imagination, expounding in the character’s voice what the answer is. Watch the evening news for five nights. Each night pretend you are a completely different character. Write or record your verbal reactions as that character. (Note: improvisation, a skill taught in acting classes, is a … Learn More →