First 5 Things Roger Wolfson Does Before Inventing a Character
The most important aspect to any story which you plan to write is the characters and it is absolutely vital that writers are able to invest as much time as they possibly can into developing those characters. On this theme, we had the great fortune recently to catch up with the wonderful storyteller and scriptwriter Roger Wolfson. Among other things we discussed a great deal about the importance of characters in a story and what he in particular does when it comes to creating a new character. Let’s take a look then at the first 5 things which Roger will deal with when creating someone new.
The first thing which Roger will take a look at is the role which this character is going to play within the story, the most important consideration in his mind. This is more important if the character being created is coming into a story which already exists, but even if a story is starting from scratch, every character should have a quality which they will bring, that will drive the story forward.
Next up Roger will consider the personality of the character, which will of course be influenced by the role which they will play in the story. Here he will look at whether the person is good or bad, angry or cheery, thoughtful or flighty, key decisions which are going to determine how the character behaves during the story.
Style of Speech
Speech is another area which will take time on deciding. If this is for a novel then there will be certain vernacular which the character will use, if it is for the stage or the screen then the writer can play around a lot more with accents and slow or fast speech, depending on what they believe the character calls for.
There will need to be some research done into the character which is being created, and that will also take up a lot of time for the writer. If the new character is going to be from Durham, NC for example, the writer will need to know a bit about the place so that they can make references to it. All of these little details add to the depth and the believability of the character, so they are highly important.
Finally Roger will focus on the quirks which the character is going to have which will set them apart. Depending on the story these quirks could be things like catchphrases, speech problems, certain habits which the character has, again, this all serves the purpose of bringing together the personality of this person, and getting the audience to really invest in them. The more layers that a character has, the easier it is to relate to them and that is what every writer is looking for.
The key which Roger was most keen to discuss is the length of time which is needed in order to create a great character.