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More about your character’s spine

Understanding the spine.

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

Judith Weston states:

Each character has one overall spine throughout the whole movie. In each scene, although the action verb may change frequently, each character has one objective. In life our needs don’t turn on or off haphazardly. We don’t necessarily stop needing something even when we don’t get it. And we certainly don’t stop needing something just because we realize we can’t have it.

She also reminds us that a character’s spine doesn’t change. Their arc or transformation happens because of their spine. It comes because they are seeking something deeper than what was apparent.

Every decision, every choice made about the character relates to the spine, including the objectives of each individual scene.

Figuring out what your character’s deepest want will connect you to that spine. It will often be an intention—often played towards either someone— even if that person isn’t around—or themselves.

David Gane Twitter

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