Creating Compelling Characters

Part Two

Character Features

The second aspect of character are the Character Features.

This one is pretty easy.

There are two kinds of Character Features:

  • External
    1. Physical Features
  • Internal
    1. Personality Quirk

The key to using character features to create a compelling character is to create CONTRAST between the Internal and External features.

My favorite example of this comes from Disney’s Tangled.

Vladamir is one of the “Pub Thugs” that Rapunzel and Flynn meet early in their journey. Vlad appears to be a giant, scary, well, thug! His external features include being larger than most of the characters, with narrow, angry eyes, and he’s dressed in what one would assume are the hides of his kills. But, during the breakout song, we learn that Vlad likes to… collect ceramic unicorns.

Say what? Yes, this big, scary looking man has a soft side, with a very specific personality quirk.

This creates depth to your character without having to give a long, drawn out backstory – unless you want to, or unless this contrast is related back to your character’s Physical or Emotional Trope.