Characters are an elemental part of every story. An intriguing plot with a good story-arc is important but without approachable characters your story will never connect with an audience. Readers need characters. Characters are the socket for your stories power supply. It is through your characters that readers can plug into the plot and experience the life of your story.
The Stargate series introduces a multitude of characters in various stages and of differing quality and consideration. Some play bit parts as extras or body count but others grow into the story, we come to love them or hate them, we come to care for the part they play in the story, their injuries and deaths bring anguish and grief or heartfelt cheers.
SG1 â€“ Jack, Daniel, Sam and Tealâ€™c
The original SG1 is a team of four diverse characters. Their differences create an initial challenge; they struggle as a unit until they learn to use each others strengths to counter their own weaknesses. It shows the importance of bringing opposites together. These characters are unique in their own fields. It is their united purposes, each individual to their character, which brings them together. A bond is formed that gives this eclectic community a solid friendship. We see the bond develop and grow with the characters as the series progresses.
It is important to blend characters but avoid carbon copies. Each character should be unique and individual. Distinguish them with separate goals, established histories, areas of interest and technique.
The SGC and General Hammond
The Stargate Command is an entity in its own right. It is actually a collection of individuals that work in regulated ways to create a standardized base of operations. There are many faceless characters lead by the General. Most of the time we donâ€™t connect with these individuals but General Hammond represents the unity. His personality molds the actions of the SGC.
Larger forces need a strong head character to represent their interests. Armies can seem like a long column of faceless men but a charismatic leader will show a distinguishing command of his forces. Each of his men is ultimately the voice of this man and a solid leader is one whose men will lay down their own lives to support the orders he puts forth. This is true of the â€˜goodâ€™ and the â€˜badâ€™ guys.
While the Goaâ€™uld are a nasty bunch in their own right they are an ideal antagonist. They arenâ€™t evil. They have solid reasoning and a collection of emotional reactions that allow readers to associate with them. The Goaâ€™uld act entirely out of an arrogant sense of self preservation and domination. As a people (umâ€¦ symbiotic race) they act with rational, intelligent thought. They are challenging but not insurmountable.
Antagonists should be normal people. You can create more impact with a sympathetic antagonist then with a diabolical freak. If a reader can see themselves in a protagonist you have a good story but if readers can see themselves to some small degree in the antagonist then you have a charged situation that will keep a reader tied to the outcome.
There are many more characters involved in the Stargate series. Each new person (or group of people) is shown in snippets. Base motivations appear and personality traits are revealed but characters always have an element that remains unseen. It is impossible to know everything and it is important that characters can still do something unexpected or unpredictable.
Over time, we get to know the main characters. Their own personal stories are revealed and delved into. The primary characters are challenged with personal situations forcing them to make choices that distinguish them. Whole episodes play a vital role in adding depth to these characters and introduce situations that push their qualities forward.
- Use time in your story to slowly reveal your characters.
- Allow their actions and reactions to portray the depth of their beliefs and desires.
- Each scene should use your characters strengths and weaknesses.
- 3D characters have sides we cannot see.
- A characters relationships reveal vital clues to their personality.
- Characters always continue to grow and change based on the situations that occur in each moment of their lives.
Finally, just because your story has reached â€˜The Endâ€™ does not mean your characters have. Characters should still be imperfect in the final scene. Their growth remains incomplete. Some of your characters may have died but most will live on beyond your closing paragraph and while they began at one point and progressed to another in this story there should always be another world to save, another enemy to fight, another day to live and another dream to follow.