Everyone's a character

May 19, 2016


William Shakespeare once wrote "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." I think the same principle applies to any form of storytelling. Characters are meant to seem like real people, and real people exhibit traits of characters. Someone once told me that what makes a character feel real is unpredictability. Moments when the character breaks their own patterns show a character's depth and complexity. However, the opposite may be true for real people. Patterns in behaviour, speech, and thinking reveal the inner complexity of real people. Such patterns allow a person to be interpreted by others and to make sense to them. 


I think most people want to be predictable in a positive way. They each want to be the talented, intelligent, virtuous person who others can predict will make the right choices and be good at everything. We tend to define people by their habits and other patterns, whether they be good or bad. In this way we make characters out of real people. But the real test of a person's character is what they do in the critical, rare, unpredictable moment when they can either defy their strengths and act for the worse or choose to defy their weaknesses and act for the better. 


No one can control what kind of comic book they'll be placed in, but everyone can decide what kind of character to be.


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