character: ebeneezer scrooge

Character Development: Part 1

The Basics

Character development can refer to the actual creation process in which you decide your character’s strengths, flaws, goals, features, etc, or it can refer to a character’s progression/transformation throughout a story, which is also known as an arc.

Your Character: How Much Do You Need to Know?

Some will say you need to be aware of everything when it comes to a character, including miscellaneous minutia, but when you follow that advice you’ll find it’s all too easy to get bogged down. In order to make things easier, it’s best to have an outline (or at the very least a general idea) for your story, and then consider your characters within that context. Make sure you flesh out these basics:

  1. Features and Identifying Characteristics - Consider what makes them unique in both physical appearance and personality.Their voice and mannerisms are also important here.
  2. Goal (s) - What does your character want and how does it drive the conflict in the story? How does your character’s goal, and the lengths they’ll go to accomplish it, affect others?
  3. Strengths and Flaws - You can divide these into major and minor categories. Some will affect the character and those around them more than others. It’s important to try to find a balance between the two, even if it’s not initial. The character can find a balance during the story.
  4. Fears - These are very important to know because they’ll influence your character’s behavior. Fears can be internal and external, major and minor.
  5. Reactions - How does your character handle situations that occur within your story, and what do those reactions say about your character to themselves, other characters, and the audience?
  6. Interactions - How does your character conduct themselves around other characters? Why?

Static vs. Dynamic Characters

Simply put, a static character is one who does not change in a story while a dynamic character does. Dynamic characters tend to have legitimate, major growth, whether it be over the course of a single story or over many. Their personality, beliefs, perspective, or even goals may be altered by their experiences, and they learn something, whether it be good or bad. Both kinds of characters will appear in stories, and it’s alright to have either in the main character role.

You may also see static characters referred to as flat and dynamic characters referred to as round.

Static Character Examples: Sherlock Homes, Hannibal Lecter, Indiana Jones, Han Solo, Robin Hood, James Bond, Tarzan, Huck Finn, Long John Silver, Classic Superheroes (Batman, Superman, Spiderman).

Dynamic Character Examples: Harry Potter, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Bilbo Baggins, Batman (Batman Begins), Buzz Lightyear, Darth Vader, and Aladdin (Disney).

Character Arcs

The key to writing a good character arc is maintaining believable change in the eyes of the audience. If your character is a pretty nice guy for most of the story, then suddenly decides to do something vile, like kill a kitten for no good reason (other than your Master Plan to make him a villain), your audience is going to be confused. Character arcs aren’t just about the beginning and the end, but how you get to that end. They are a progression.

There are three basic types of character arcs: positive, negative, and flat/no change.

Positive: Your character begins at a low point, and by the end of the story reaches a high and is better off than where he was when he started. An external force causes a change within the character. An example would be The Hero’s Journey (Shrek) or overcoming an internal obstacle.

Negative: Your character begins at a high point, and by the end of the story hits a low and is worse off than where he was when he started. An external force causes a change within the character. An example would be The Fall from Grace (Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader).

Flat/No Change: The character, at some point, has already found their truth, accomplished their goal, come to terms with their struggles, or had a major change at some point prior to the story and already knows how to handle things. These stories tend to focus on how the character can affect his world, and not the other way around.

There are, of course, different degrees of severity to these arcs, and depending on how long your story is, or if it’s over the course of a series, a character may go through multiple arcs.

Remember to treat your characters like people. Force them into situations that expose them, and make them show who they really are.

Happy writing.



This never should have been cut from the movie. To me it’s one of the most important scenes. It has nothing to do with young Ebeneezer or Belle, and everything to do with how older Ebeneezer handles the scene.

Towards the very end of the song, we get the very first glimpse of the heart inside of Scrooge. Not because he’s crying, though that’s important. To me, the biggest revelation in that scene is that he remembers the words.

It always reminds me of the quote from The Wizard of Oz. 

“Now I know I have a heart, because it’s breaking" 

We, too, know that Scrooge has a heart, now, because we see it break in his expression and in his tear choked words. 

Whoever cut this from the movie should be kicked in the shins.


If you get your production out just in time, whatever medium, people will watch A Christmas Carol. Whether its with live actors, Muppets, or cartoons, you will have an audience. One of the versions of I’ve always loved is the 1984, made-for-TV production starring George C. Scott as Scrooge.

How can you go wrong with Scott in the role? Sure, he’s an American in a traditionally British role, but Scott comes to the part with a resume fit for Scrooge. Name more characters played by an actor that are as stubborn, worn, and all around angry as Scott. This man was Buck Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove, Bert Gordon in The Hustler, Jake Van Dorn in Hardcore, and Patton. PATTON! Scott had perfected the hard man. This man will struggle, place himself above others, and fall like no other. That IS Scrooge.

This also is just an interesting piece of television history. Its an era when broadcast networks put out multiple TV movies or miniseries each year. A challenge is thrown down to motion pictures by this production. Its saying they can bring as much quality, as much depth of acting and story as anything seen in a movie theater. It helped set the foundation for the quality of television today that, more often than not, exceeds film. Also, Edward “The Equalizer” Woodward plays the Ghost of Christmas Present. That is just super.


Donald Trump vs Ebeneezer Scrooge  Epic Rap Battles of History….

If you haven’t checked out this clip of Epic Rap Battles yet make sure you do.. This one is pretty dope! You decide on your fav for this one and Happy Holidays!