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Character is Action

What matters is what your character wants.

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

The argument of whether the plot is more important than the character or vice versa is always dull.


Because at its heart, it ignores the fact that character is action.

As William Packard states:

Hamlet is his desire to avenge his murdered father—anything else you may say about him, from a dramatic point of view, is superfluous. Although Hamlet can be described as melancholy or philosophical or poetic, these are merely adjectives open to literary interpretation. What matters is what Hamlet wants, what his objective is—which is to say, what Hamlet’s action is.

As soon as a character pops up in your story, their want drives the plot forward. Either they want the treasure, love, respect, or some other thing which puts things in motion.

They may even seem like they want nothing, but the moment they take action, there is possibly an intention behind that action.

And this is not bad because once you know one side of the plot/character dynamic, you have a clue what the other side might be.

David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.