13. Characters Reveal Characters

13. Characters Reveal Characters
Characters Reveal Characters

Characters Reveal Characters

CHARACTER REACTIONS

While proactivity is an essential quality of a protagonist, “fine writing emphasizes REACTIONS.”1(78 McKee). “Fine writing puts less stress on what happens than on to whom it happens and why and how it happens. Indeed, the richest and most satisfying pleasures of all are found in stories that focus on the reactions that events cause and the insight gained” (178 McKee).

 

“If you write a beat in which a character steps up to a door, knocks, and waits, and in reaction the door is politely opened to invite him in, and the director is foolish enough to shoot this, in all probability it will never see the light of the screen. Any editor worthy of the title would instantly scrap it, explaining to the director: ‘Jack, these are eight dead seconds. He knocks on the door and it's actually opened for him? No, we'll cut to the sofa. That's the first real beat. Sorry you squandered fifty thousand dollars walking your star through a door, but it's a pace killer and pointless.’ A ‘pointless pace killer’ is any scene in which reactions lack insight and imagination, forcing expectation to equal result” (178-179 McKee).

Fine writing emphasizes reactions T

According to James’ Theory of Illumnation, a character occupies the center of a circle and other characters he interacts with surround him. Each time a character interacts with the main character different aspects of his character are revealed T

 

CHARACTERS REVEAL CHARACTERS: “One of Henry James's theories is termed the Theory of Illumination. James said that if your character occupies the center of a circle and all the other characters he interacts with surround him, then each time a character interacts with the main character, the other characters can reveal, or illuminate, different aspects of the main character. The analogy he used was walking into a darkened room and turning on the floor lamps located in each corner. Each lamp illuminates a different part of the room. In the same way, different aspects of your main character can be illuminated by what other people say about him or her. This is how we know that Bob Harris, the Bill Murray character in Lost in Translation, is a movie star: He's sitting at the bar, alone, when two guys start telling him how much they loved his movies, and wonder whether he did all his own stunts. In that one exchange, we learn he is an action star, one whose career seems to be on the decline” (71 Field).