In this Character Series post we’ll be exploring:
- The appeal of innocent characters
- The pitfalls of fickle characters and
- Disappointing character arcs.
Whether by it’s strengths or its weaknesses, Revolution will teach us how to improve our writing skills in the 3 character points above.
In watching the first season of the TV series Revolution, I noticed first the appeal of having innocence in your characters–and secondly the importance of keeping that innocence, or sympathy.
Sympathetic Characters Appeal to Readers
Right off the bat we are led to follow Charlie. She is young and naïve in the brutal ways of the world outside her little agrarian village. One of the things that makes her so appealing and likable right off the bat, and for pretty much the first half of the season, is her misguided naïve belief that there simply has to be good people everywhere, and that everyone has some good in them.
We as viewers (readers if this were a book) instantly find her appealing for this very reason. We know she is mistaken, and so we are just waiting with rapt attention for the moment when she realizes this, knowing full well that this revelation will hit her hard. And of course, when that moment comes, we feel for her. Kudos to the writers so far.
But then, when she is finally forced to face the hard truth that not everyone is good, and that even she has bad in her, it’s not long before she loses her baby-faced naiveté and abandons all her appeal. She is forced to kill someone. Though she reels from this, she then kills again soon after, and with almost no compunction this time. Suddenly she is fine with killing, a battle-hardened warrior who no long hopes to see good in everyone. In the (whiplash-swift) process she becomes a different character. I suppose some people may like the warrior girl who is not afraid to make the hard choices, but the character arc shifted far too quickly to be believable and MOST IMPORTANTLY Charlie failed to retain any of the innocence that made her likeable—forcing viewers to decide if they like this new character. Naturally there will be some who do, but the writer’s decision here suggests they were
- Impatient to conjure a new character or
- Perhaps they didn’t like their original creation. Either way, they disrespect their viewers by disregarding established character traits. This is a writer’s mistake, as it will inevitably alienate much of your viewership.
The Pitfalls of Fickle Characters Continue reading “Revolutionary Characters”