ghost 6

The 10 Elements of a MAIN CHARACTER

To all the writers who have ever been told “Your characters have to be three dimensional!” or “They should be well-rounded!” and just felt like saying: “What does that even MEAN?! What goes into a 3-dimensional character? Specifically? And how do you go about creating one?!”

Good news. There’s a way. 

Great main characters – heroes, protagonists, deuteragonist, whatever you want to call them – have ten things in common. Ten things that are easily developed, once you know what to create within your character. So no one will ever be able to tell you “needs to be more three dimensional!” ever again. Ha. 

1) Weaknesses: Main characters should be flawed, but I’m not saying this because it will make them more realistic (though it will) – I’m saying they need to be flawed because if they’re not, they shouldn’t be a main character. Story is another word for change, or more accurately, character growth. Not character as in “fictional person”, character meaning “heart and soul”. Story is someone’s character changing, for better or worse. Main characters at the beginning of the story are lacking something vital, some knowledge of themselves, some knowledge of how to live a better life, and this void is ruining their lives. They must overcome these weaknesses, if they’re going to become complete, and reach a happy ending. There are two types of weaknesses: Psychological and Moral. Psychological ones only hurt the main character. Moral ones cause the main character to hurt other people. Easy.  

2) Goal: Characters exist because they want something. Desiring something, and the fight against opposition for that desire, is the lifeblood of story; and because character is story, it’s also desire that can breathe life into words on a page, and begin the process of creating a real person in a reader’s mind. It’s this ‘desire for something’ that sparks that first connection between reader and character. It makes us think “Well, now I have to find out if this person gets what they want.” This is a powerful link. (How many mediocre movies do we suffer through, when we could easily stop watching, because we’re still trapped by that question of “what happens?”) So if this is powerful enough to keep people watching an annoying movie, imagine how powerful it can be in an excellent story. 

Like in Up, the goal is to get the house to Paradise Falls.

3) Want: If the main character wants something, they want it for a darn good reason. Usually, they think that attaining the goal will fill the void they can sense in their lives, the deficiency they can feel, but don’t know how to fix. And they’re almost always wrong. Getting the goal doesn’t help anything; which is why, while pursuing that goal, they discover a deeper need that will heal them. Which brings us to …

4) Need/Elixir: Main characters are missing something, a weakness in their innermost selves is causing them to live a less-than-wonderful life. Through story, these main characters can be healed. Once they discover what’s missing, and accept it, and change the way they live to include this truth they’ve uncovered … they’re healed. Learning this truth, whatever it is, forms the purpose of the story for the main character. The reader, and the character, think the story is about achieving that big tangible goal the premise talks about; really, underneath it all, the story is about someone achieving a big intangible truth, that will ultimately save their life and future. Often, this need is exactly what the character fears or professes to hate. 

Like Finding Nemo, where Dory states exactly what Marlin needs to learn. 

5) Ghosts: 

Not this kind of ghosts.

Ghosts are events in your character’s past which mark the source of their weaknesses and strengths. Because these happened, the character became who they are. All we need to know about backstory are these moments, because who the character became is all we care about. There’s really only one ghost you absolutely need: the source of their moral and psychological weakness. Something happened that knocked the character’s world off kilter, and everything from that moment onward has been tainted by what happened. This moment haunts them (hence the name), and holds them back from uncovering that need that will heal their weaknesses. Pixar are masters of this: the source of Carl being stuck in the past, curmudgeonly, unable of loving anyone new? Ellie dying; his ghost. In Finding Nemo, the source of Marlin being suffocating, protective to the point of being harmful, possessive, and fearful? His wife and 99% of his children being eaten in front of him; his ghost. 

6) True Character: These are the strengths, values, convictions, fears, faults, beliefs, worldview, and outlook on life that make the main character who they truly are. 

7) Characterization: This is everything on the surface of a main character. The way they look, talk, act, etc. All of this originates from those deeper elements of their being, the strengths, values, ghosts, weaknesses, needs, that make them who they truly are. So often, you can think of this as a facade they’re projecting, a way to shield the the truth about themselves, how they wish to be perceived. The story, and the other characters, are slowly going to see deeper than this characterization, revealing more and more of the reasons it is the way it is. 

8) Arc: If the character is going to change from “Incomplete Person” to “Complete Person” there’s going to be a journey they go on to make that possible. The external story, the pursuit of that big tangible goal the premise is about, is causing an inner journey to take place. What they have to do in pursuit of that external goal will apply pressure to those weaknesses, and pressure causes change. This process has seven steps, but if I write it all here this post is going to be obscenely long. So I might wait and give this its own post.

9) Changed Person: Who is the character going to be at the end of this story? They better be different, or else the story didn’t work. How do they show how different they’ve become? What is the moral choice they make, that spins their trajectory from “the future doesn’t look so great” to “happily ever after”? This should be known right away, maybe even before anything else is settled about the character. This gives a distinct end goal, a way to work backwards, a destination in mind that you can navigate towards.  

10) Fascination and Illumination: The surface characterization, and the brief glimpses of the true character underneath create curiosity in the reader/audience. What the character says, and the implied subtext beneath the dialogue, creates a puzzle the audience wants to solve. Actions they take work the same way; if the writer indicates there’s deeper motivation behind why a character behaves in the way they do, we buy into solving that mystery right away. We can’t help it. “Who are you really? Why are you the way you are? And how is that going to effect the story?” These are all the unspoken, almost not consciously acknowledged, questions that fascinating characters provoke. Searching out meaning, connecting the dots to find the truth – we can’t resist this. We’re not fascinated by tons of backstory and exposition about a character; we’re fascinated by story, by mystery, by the technique of withholding information and having to interpret and hunt out the truth on our own.  So gradually, the story and the characters will force that character to reveal a little more, and a little more, until we have a complete picture of who this person is. Crucial that this information isn’t told up front. Gradually illuminate it. It’s just like getting to know a real person. 

So how does this work in a real character? Let’s take a look at Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert, because almost everybody has seen that movie. 

Moral Weaknesses: He’s selfish. He’s a little greedy. He’s a little rude. He uses his charisma and bravado to keep people at a distance from the real him. 

Psychological Weaknesses: Insecurity, fear of vulnerability, feels like the real him (Eugene) would be unwanted, unlovable, and have nothing – just like when he was an orphaned kid. Also, he doesn’t know who he wants to be, what he wants to live for. 

Goal: Flynn wants to get that crown. So he has to get Blondie to see the floating lights, so she’ll give it back to him, and then they can part ways as unlikely friends.  

Want: Why does he want the crown? What does it mean for him? He actually states it (reluctantly) in song: “I have dreams like you, no really. Just much less touchy feely. They mainly happen somewhere warm and sunny. On an island that I own, tanned and rested and alone. Surrounded by enormous piles of money.” He senses there’s something off in his life, something is missing. But he mistakenly believes this missing piece is money, which will allow him to buy a lonely island, where he can live out his days as Flynn and no one will ever know Eugene. 

Need: “All those days chasing down a daydream. All those years living in a blur. All that time never truly seeing, things the way they were. Now she’s here, shining in the starlight. Now she’s here, suddenly I know. If she’s here, it’s crystal clear, I’m where I’m meant to go.” He wants a crown … he needs to fall in love with Rapunzel. He needs to love something more than himself, and find out that love isn’t something to fear and push away. He needs to abandon the 'Tales of Flynnagin Rider’ ambition, and get a more worthwhile, new dream. 

Ghost: The source of all of his weaknesses can be linked to his “little bit of a downer” childhood as an orphan. Interestingly, he isn’t aware of another facet of that ghost, and Rapunzel points it out to him. “Was he a thief too?” she asks. He looks taken aback, before answering “Uh, no.” Something’s gone wrong. The choices he’s making are not living up to that original role model.  

Characterization: Flynn’s charming, funny, smart, charismatic, and arrogant (in a somehow charming sort of way). He’s also rude, contemptuous, and sarcastic. All traits that help him keep up that 'swashbuckling rogue’ facade, and push people away from the real him. 

True Character: Underneath all that, he’s a Disney prince. That pretty much sums it up.  

Changed Person: “Started going by Eugene again, stopped thieving, and basically turned it all around.” He started the story as the guarded and evasive Flynn, he ends as the selfless and thoroughly-in-love Eugene. 

Fascination and Illumination: Imagine if everything about Flynn had been told, right up front. We know he’s an orphan, we know he’s upheld a fake reputation, we know he’s a kind and loving guy underneath it all, we even know about his “tales of Flynnagin” childhood dream. You know what happens? We like him … but we’re not interested in him. There’s nothing we need to find out. There’s no curiosity. And if there’s no curiosity, and nothing being illuminated, your story’s not going anywhere. So instead, we find out – alongside Rapunzel – more about Flynn as the story progresses. And that is how it should be. 

So!

Developing characters in this way, I’ve found, really reduces worries about how “well-rounded” and three dimensional I’ve made them. They feel real to me. And besides helping me create characters, this ten element technique has also let me analyze characters I like, which is strangely fun. It’s a great way to figure out why a character works, what causes them to be so effective, and how you can go about creating them yourself. 

Yeah, I’m a bit of a nerd. 

But if you want, try it out. Develop a character. Analyze a character. You might find it as useful/fun as I do.

Get To Know Me Questions

1. What is your full name? 

2. What is your nickname? 

3. What is your zodiac sign?  

4. What is your favorite book series? 

5. Do you believe in aliens or ghosts? 

6. Who is your favorite author? 

7. What is your favorite radio station? 

8. What is your favorite flavor of anything? 

9. What word would you use often to describe something great or wonderful? 

10. What is your current favorite song? 

11. What is your favorite word? 

12. What was the last song you listened to? 

13. What TV show would you recommend for everybody to watch? 

14. What is your favorite movie to watch when you’re feeling down? 

15. Do you play video games? 

16. What is your biggest fear? 

17. What is your best quality, in your opinion? 

18. What is your worst quality, in your opinion? 

19. Do you like cats or dogs better? 

20. What is your favorite season? 

21. Are you in a relationship? 

22. What is something you miss from your childhood? 

23. Who is your best friend? 

24. What is your eye color? 

25. What is your hair color? 

26. Who is someone you love? 

27. Who is someone you trust? 

28. Who is someone you think about often? 

29. Are you currently excited about/for something? 

30. What is your biggest obsession? 

31. What was your favorite TV show as a child? 

32. Who of the opposite gender can you tell anything to, if anyone? 

33. Are you superstitious? 

34. Do you have any unusual phobias? 

35. Do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind it? 

36. What is your favorite hobby? 

37. What was the last book you read? 

38. What was the last movie you watched? 

39. What musical instruments do you play, if any? 

40. What is your favorite animal? 

41. What are your top 5 favorite Tumblr blogs that you follow? 

42. What superpower do you wish you had? 

43. When and where do you feel most at peace? 

44. What makes you smile? 

45. What sports do you play, if any? 

46. What is your favorite drink? 

47. When was the last time you wrote a hand-written letter or note to somebody? 

48. Are you afraid of heights? 

49. What is your biggest pet peeve? 

50. Have you ever been to a concert? 

51. Are you vegan/vegetarian? 

52. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

53. What fictional world would you like to live in? 

54. What is something you worry about? 

55. Are you scared of the dark? 

56. Do you like to sing? 

57. Have you ever skipped school? 

58. What is your favorite place on the planet? 

59. Where would you like to live? 

60. Do you have any pets? 

61. Are you more of an early bird or a night owl? 

62. Do you like sunrises or sunsets better? 

63. Do you know how to drive?

64. Do you prefer earbuds or headphones? 

65. Have you ever had braces? 

66. What is your favorite genre of music? 

67. Who is your hero? 

68. Do you read comic books? 

69. What makes you the most angry? 

70. Do you prefer to read on an electronic device or with a real book? 

71. What is your favorite subject in school? 

72. Do you have any siblings? 

73. What was the last thing you bought? 

74. How tall are you? 

75. Can you cook? 

76. What are three things that you love? 

77. What are three things that you hate? 

78. Do you have more female friends or more male friends? 

79. What is your sexual orientation? 

80. Where do you currently live? 

81. Who was the last person you texted? 

82. When was the last time you cried? 

83. Who is your favorite YouTuber? 

84. Do you like to take selfies? 

85. What is your favorite app? 

86. What is your relationship with your parent(s) like? 

87. What is your favorite foreign accent? 

88. What is a place that you’ve never been to, but you want to visit? 

89. What is your favorite number? 

90. Can you juggle? 

91. Are you religious? 

92. Do you find outer space of the deep ocean to be more interesting? 

93. Do you consider yourself to be a daredevil? 

94. Are you allergic to anything? 

95. Can you curl your tongue? 

96. Can you wiggle your ears? 

97. How often do you admit that you were wrong about something? 

98. Do you prefer the forest or the beach? 

99. What is your favorite piece of advice that anyone has ever given you? 

100. Are you a good liar? 

101. What is your Hogwarts House? 

102. Do you talk to yourself? 

103. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? 

104. Do you keep a journal/diary? 

105. Do you believe in second chances? 

106. If you found a wallet full of money on the ground, what would you do? 

107. Do you believe that people are capable of change? 

108. Are you ticklish? 

109. Have you ever been on a plane? 

110. Do you have any piercings? 

111. What fictional character do you wish was real? 

112. Do you have any tattoos? 

113. What is the best decision that you’ve made in your life so far? 

114. Do you believe in karma? 

115. Do you wear glasses or contacts? 

116. Do you want children? 

117. Who is the smartest person you know? 

118. What is your most embarrassing memory? 

119. Have you ever pulled an all-nighter? 

120. What color are most of you clothes? 

121. Do you like adventures? 

122. Have you ever been on TV? 

123. How old are you? 

124. What is your favorite quote? 

125. Do you prefer sweet or savory foods? 

THIS IS NOT OKAY!!! IM STILL AN EMOTIONAL MESS!!! STYDIA IS FINALLY CANNON!! BEACON HILLS STILL NEEDS MY BABIES!! THEO AND PETER ARE ACTUALLY BEING AMAZING!! MELISSA AND ARGENT ARE CANNON TOO!! WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE.

Erased (Part 1)

Part 2

Part 3

Pairing: Stiles x Reader

Summary: The Ghost Riders have just arrived in Beacon Hills; everyone is afraid, everyone’s faith is on a couple of teenagers. (Y/N) and Stiles have been best friends for years, and have been dating for the last two. They’re the perfect couple, but the Ghost Riders are here to end the Happily Ever After.

Word Count: 1,200

Prompt: Requested by @squirels-angels-and-moose (love the idea!).

A/N: I have changed certain scenes in Season 6 mainly to fit in with this imagine, so please don’t kill me! As well, I really hope that it is accurate enough with the ghost riders; I feel like I haven’t watched it in years but in reality it has only been a couple of weeks!

Originally posted by dylanobriengirl

“Can I get a photo of you two?” You tore your eyes away from Stiles to smile at Sydney who wore a rather odd grin on her face. “What for?” Stiles asked suspiciously. “For the perfect couple section, obviously.” She laughed, Stiles looked at you for a second and you shrugged before getting into a pose. Stiles wrapped his arm around your waist pulling you closer, and you snuggled in perfectly to his side. She snapped the photo before skipping off to take pictures of the gathering crowd.

“The perfect couple, huh?” He asked, turning to face you. There wasn’t much space between the pair of you, but you were comfortable with it. After years of being best friends with Stiles to becoming his girlfriend two years ago, you were way past the awkward kisses and hugging stage. “We are though,” You agreed with Sydney before planting a kiss on his lips. “Mmmh, I love you.” He mumbled into your mouth, the vibration causing you to giggle.

The rest of the gang showed up, and this made you separate yourself from him. Gathering around the table, everyone looked at Stiles who clapped his hands together excitedly. “So, who is coming to the house with me?” He looked around the group, each of you holding a blank or apologetic face. “Malia? Lydia?” He questioned, receiving mumbled excuses before they got up quickly and stumbled off. “Don’t ever ask me for help again,” He shouted in their direction causing the pair to let out giggles knowing they don’t need to beg him for anything, he’ll just do it.

“Scott?” “You know I can’t leave, I’ve missed far too many classes.” He moaned, thinking of the work that had to be done to catch up. Stiles let out a huff before he looked at you; his big, hazel brown eyes begging you to tag along. “Stiles..” You warned, he let a sniff as if he was crying. “I can’t, I’ve papers to work on.” He shook his head, standing up from the table and storming away. “What a cry baby.” You chuckled, grabbing your backpack and Scott’s, and walking with him to the next class.


You heard a car pull up to the driveway; after two beeps, you looked out the window to see the familiar jeep and an extremely nervous looking Stiles sitting in the driver’s seat. He waves his hand for you to come out and with a smile on your face, you grab the closest jacket and walk out to the jeep. “Why hello there,” You greet him, giving him a peck on the cheek. “Isn’t this a surprise?” He winked at you before driving away from your house. “Did you find anything at the boy’s house?” He glanced at you, licking his bottom lip before shaking his head. “No, nothing.” He hesitated, a glazed look covering his eyes.

“What happened, Stiles?” You placed the palm of your hand on his thigh, showing him that you were there for him. “Let’s talk about that later,” He stopped the jeep, hopping out of it and running to your side; to open your door. “You’re being awfully sweet tonight.” You noticed, smiling at him teasingly. “I just want to show you how much I love you.” He pecked your lips before grabbing your hand and walking you down a small trail.

“Are you taking me to that park?” You asked, causing him to groan. “How do you remember that?” He looked at you and laughed, “Of course you remember, you remember everything.” He put an emphasis on the word ‘everything’ but he kept walking, swinging your arms with each step.

Two years ago, Stiles asked you to be more than his best friend in the very park that you were standing in the middle of now. “Why are we back here?” You asked, looking around the abandoned park since it was nearing nine o’clock in the evening. He pulled a blanket out of his backpack and lay it on the grass, “I just want to spend time with you,” He looked around nervously before laying down on the blanket bringing you with him. He turned you so your back was to his chest and he wrapped his arms around you so tight that you thought you were going to pee.

“Stiles, what has gotten into you?” You asked, not making any attempt to turn and face him. You felt his chest rise and fall, before he sighed and rested his chin on your shoulder. “We went to the house earlier, and I say one of the Ghost Riders,” “The what?” Stiles let out a sigh, before sitting up; you felt the warmth leave your body. “The Ghost Riders, it’s the Wild Hunt (Y/N). Once you see them, you’re next. People start forgetting about you, your personal possessions start disappearing – you’re erased from everyone’s memories.” He looked down at you, worry swirling in his eyes. “I’m next, (Y/N). I need you to remember me, okay? I need you to help Scott and Lydia.”

You sat up, you felt sick; you wanted to throw up but you had to be strong. “I won’t let anyone take you, Stiles. I can’t live without you,” “I’ll be back,” He whispered, kissing your lips gently, “But you need to remember me.” The wind started to pick up, and Stiles stood up abruptly, pushing you behind him.

“(Y/N), you need to run.” He whispered, the leaves brushing against your toes through the sandals. You heard a noise, you looked to the side and your eyes widened. “Stiles, is that the Ghost Rider?” Your throat went dry, you found it hard to talk, never mind scream. “You can see them?” He asked in shock, turning you to face him. You nodded, “Run! Run! Run now, (Y/N)!” He shouted, grabbing your wrist, and running in the direction of the jeep. You heard the horse’s feet galloping along the grass; one right behind you and the other coming from the right. “Stiles, I can’t run, my feet.” You looked down the blood seeping through the sandals.

“Stiles, you go! Run, get help. You know more about them than me, you’re the smarter one.” He turned the corner with the jeep just two minutes away, “They won’t stop following us until they get one of us, please go.” You whispered, tears flowing down your cheeks. “I’m not leaving you.” He said, his hand grasping your cheek. “I can’t,” He whispered, kissing the tears away. “If we both get caught, no one will ever remember us but if you stay here, you’ll find me – you always do, Stiles.” He looked deeply into your eyes before roughly kissing you. “I love you okay? I love you so damn much and I will find you.” “I love you too,” Stiles let out a sob before the sound of a horse got closer, “Go, remember me.” You whispered, pushing him towards the jeep.

His hand slipped off your face just as you turned to face the Ghost Rider who was now standing walking towards you, a gun pointing to your chest. You heard the jeep’s engine start, before you couldn’t hear it anymore. You let out a sob as the shooting of the gun could be heard, and the cloud of green smoke was all you remembered.