Light and Darkness – Creating Characters

by juliusmsanz

Why am I inverting the title order?

What I’m about to discuss relates not only to characters but the overall story. There is no light without darkness and there is no darkness without light. We can only correlate both, because if we didn’t know about light, then that word, notion, concept, would not exist. The characters, the story, everything must fluctuate in order to bring a sense of balance.

Now, I’ll talk more about the characters here, since this is mostly what this post is about.

When we watch a film or a series, when we read a book, we can say one character is a badass for example. But we can only say that the character is a badass because we can do comparisons. If we couldn’t compare, we could face the most badass character ever and still think him/her as somewhat normal.

One character will almost always be order, sanity and soberness. The other character will be chaos, insanity, etc. The reason we perceive a character as cool in a show is because the surrounding cast is normal or boring or make bad decisions. For one character to be cool another must be lame. This is a rather crude conclusion, I know, but it’s the simplest way of explaining the concept.

But this light and darkness stuff doesn’t end here.

Like I explained in my previous post a character, especially a main character, cannot be flat. He/She must have multiple layers. What does this mean? We aren’t always happy or sad, and we aren’t happy for the same reason or sad for the same reason. One day I might see a sad film and cry, another day I might see another sad film and be incredibly bored. This is important because it allows you, the writer, to further build your characters and give them depth. Yet another example deals with personality and the way the person acts. I bet you’ve all seen that incredible people person that sometimes gets insecure and keeps asking advice from others. What this means, and I’m writing a character in this way, is that this person can be very insecure and depends on others to make decisions. His/her people skills act as a facade and solution to problems. If this person could be more assertive and independent, he/she would not use his/her people skills in this way and probably could interact less with others. Is this healthy? I could say it isn’t and make the character even more broken.

So this character is both light and darkness in several ways. He/she could even start as a hero and end up as a villain.

Don’t forget that a character, as well-constructed as can be, needs to be balanced and to fit in the world the writer has created. It would not make sense to have an extremely happy person in the middle of the apocalypse. Unless we’re talking about an insane character. A character can be a ray of light shining on a dark world, but that light will never shine the brightest at the start of the story.

One thing I’ve been meaning to ask, and I hope I get some answers: should I add images to my posts? Are you bored of always looking at text? I tend to write and forget about these things so please let me know what you think.

Hope this gave you something to think about, see you tomorrow!

Have a nice day!