How to create a perfect character

By Ark Avva
One of my favourite TV's shows from a 2005 was a show called Breaking Bad that centralizes itself upon a character named Walter White. Walter White was a high school chemistry teacher that had a family of 4. He lived a pretty average and uninteresting life until he was diagnosed with cancer. His diagnosis makes him snap because he's realized he's wasted his life away for 50 years and now he's going to die so he uses his chemistry degree to make the finest crystal meth in the Alberquerque. At the end of his show, the character has changed from a depressed dad with a family to a cold drug kingpin murderer dying alone, living with the consequences of his actions. This show was amazing for me, in terms of writing, cinematography, acting. What really interested me however, was Walter White himself. He was such a unique person, he had his own life, his own experiences that shaped him into the man he was and the man he would become. This show inspired me to try and create an imaginary person as fascinating as him but I couldn't do it. I just didn't know how, after a lot of research and lots of time spent watching this TV show however. I believe I have come up with the perfect way to create a character as interesting as Walter White.

First, consider the character's motives. The motive is integral for creating a person that we can actually follow and place our interest in. Why are they doing what they are actually doing? Usually, the motive directors choose is simple. For example, our friend Walter White's motive is to provide for his family. It's simple, it's relatable and it justifies the horrible things he does throughout the show. Although the motive does not need to be simple, it can be complex and completely unrelatable although that usually doesn't last long other than some special cases.

Next, let's focus on Character Arcs or Character Development. People change over time, it's natural. Usually we are afraid of change such as moving a country or a school, but change is inevitable in people and their environment. Which is why if you want a character to be realistic, you need them to change. Make them react to changes in their environment, alter their personality in accord to any trauma in their lives. It doesn't even have to be big, just changing their hairstyle or the little things in their behaviour such as teeth biting can add to much depth to a character. Think of your character as a real person, if they don't change, you basically created a statue or a cartoon character that dies or breaks and ankle in one episode but is miraculously completely fine the next episode.

Character Interactions is the final main aspect in a character. The way your character interacts with the environment and other people is integral to making them fleshed out. They would have a unique reaction to a specific situation in their lives that no-one else would have been through. In real life, people have different reactions to different things, but they are all tied together by a basic premise that is completely burned into that person. If you want to make a good character, make a basic emotion or a thought otherwise known as the 'premise' that is rooted into that person and then branch out all of their reactions to different situations, basing them on that unique premise.

Finally, let's return to Walter White. If you take his Motives, Character Development and his unique interactions with other characters and you throw them away, what do you have? You have a middle aged man with a family who out of nowhere decided to throw that life away and cook meth for a living. It's strange, quite unusual and kind of interesting If I had to admit but it's not memorable.

you'd just forget he existed if he was made to be life that but luckily he wasn’t. These three horsemen of a character are extremely important, we take them for granted when watching a show but without them, all TV, all books and all movies would be very boring. If someone took away your motives, the changes that you make to yourself purposely or not on purpose and how you interact with people, how do you think you would be? Think about it.
Created with