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Good characterisation

Someone on TBBS asked what "good characterisation" was. Posted an off-the-cuff reply but thought it summed my views up quite nicely:

Good characterisation is when a character is good.

Okay, now that I've got the George Bush answer out of the way...


Some attributes of good characterisation:


  • complexity: let the character have different sides, eg not just be defined by their function ("the doctor", "the soldier", "the captain")
  • nuance and depth: let there be some subtleties to their emotions, thoughts, opinions and actions
  • empathy: let us feel like we can live in their shoes, even if they're the "bad guys"
  • motivation: let us know what is driving the character forward...
  • backstory: ...and how they came to be the person they are today
  • reasonable consistency: not so consistent that they never surprise us, not so inconsistent that they go all Janeway
  • change: let them grow ... or sometimes slide backwards

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 5, 2004 4:18 PM.

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