Without giving away too much

I haven’t written on the craft of writing for awhile but yesterday morning as I watched CBS Today the cast of the cop drama, Blue Bloods were on which reminded me of the tried and true aspects of character development.

The show is going into it’s eighth season. When asked what kept it alive and fresh, all 3 guest stars, Tom Selleck, Bridget Moynahan, and Will Estes claimed it was the writing.

In Blue Bloods, Tom Selleck plays NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan, a widower and patriarch of a law enforcement-steeped family. His character is macho, stubborn and lives by a double standard. With three grown children, he steps in to make sure his sons, a detective and a patrol cop never get any favoritism while he makes deals behind the scenes with his daughter, an Assistant D.A., ensuring he gets what he asks for. Although the show portrays family values of loyalty, mutual respect and they congregate weekly to have a family dinner together it’s main attraction is that it’s a character driven show. Characters are at the heart of the best stories. 

You need to establish your characters so that they are flawed and relatable, without giving away too much. Readers need to slowly discover what makes them tick. So whether it’s a television show or a novel, without good characters, readers won’t care about the fascinating world or the intricate plot a writer creates. Crafting a protagonist readers will love, or an antagonist that we love to hate, will keep readers glued and become characters that readers will want to hang out with, time after time.

1 Comment

  1. This is definitely a post after my own heart, Linda. Character-drive stories/movies become our great classics, and writers are at the very heart of that. I often lament the fact that we have so many good actors and so few scripts worthy of their efforts.

    We are in the age of the dominance of special effects, which means I go to very few movies. Even in the days of the great “spectacle” films, they knew how to write for the characters. “Lawrence of Arabia” was full of gorgeous cinematography, but it would not have become a classic without the writers and the magnificent Peter O’Toole and the fabulous actors who surrounded him.

    Great post, Linda.

    Cheers, M-T

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