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Creating characters

In order to craft a story, one needs to create the characters that will drive the narrative forward. This is necessary because the characters’ physical appearance, behavior, and actions form a close relationship with the plot.

They are the culmination of the author’s real-life experiences or a reflection of the author’s imagination, or even a collection of various elements and observations compiled into a single entity, and serve as the author’s tools in observing, understanding, and critiquing humanity, society, and the world. The story’s value to the audience is also determined by the characters, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that a story’s success of a story depends on the characters the author creates.

As characters are closely related to the plot, they must form an organic relationship with the story. And when the characters’ actions or dispositions acquire a sense of uncertainty, the possibility for a deeper story emerges. Whether it is the character who strives to escape oppression while committing acts of self-inflicted oppression or the character who’s repulsed by violence and yet engages in it—in each case, internal conflict makes for unique characters who enrich the story. Depending on a character’s role in the story, he or she can be classified as either a protagonist or a supporting role.

The protagonist

The protagonist acquires a goal through either ambition or desire, and encounters various situations and events in the quest to attain that goal. The protagonist takes the leading role in these situations and events.

Supporting characters

Supporting characters are all of the characters in the story who are not the protagonist. In a way, the supporting characters are created by the protagonist, as they enter the story mainly to engage with the main character in some way. For this reason, no matter how simple a story is, supporting characters must exist in some manner as a means of bringing out the protagonist’s depth, enlivening the story, and creating the possibility for various events and situations.

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This article is from the free online course:

Transmedia Storytelling

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)