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.