Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Conflict and Character

Snowdog asks:
Would you have any advice on how to create dramatic tension without having the characters degenerate into whiners, a la Robert Jordan's Rand al'Thor (Waaa!)?
In general terms, dramatic tension arises when a character wants or needs to do something and someone or something else obstructs that desire or need.

Character (in the sense of personality attributes or disposition) is revealed by the character's response to this conflict. If the character comes across as a whiner, this would seem to indicate a design flaw in the character's character.

I can't speak directly to Snowdog's concerns about Robert Jordan's characters, as -- while I know they're enormously popular and successful -- I found the first Wheel of Time book I picked up to be an unreadable slog and never felt any desire to revisit the series. Ergo, I will have to defer this one to the group.

Comments, s'il vous plait?