When I was ten years old, my father took me to see Alien. Its not a movie for kids. In fact, I was horrified by the alien creature, made worse when we return home and my sister’s hermit crab escaped its cage by crawling out of shell. They look oddly like a facehugger- a teeny, tiny facehugger, and it was loose in my room!
But I digress…
The main protagonist, Ellen Ripley, played by Sirgourney Weaver, impressed me as there were few roles where the main character was a strong female. The director revealed the role was meant for a male protagonist.
When writing a story, and forming the character, I consider potential drama that comes from things like gender, age, race, religion, and era. These factors can provide new avenues to take a story, including conflicts the character must face and overcome.
Take for instance the era of Germany in 1930’s, and the main characters is a Jew, or do you change to German? Perhaps an American. What if you make the character a young child, or a senior citizen. You can see how these factors change things on how the story can shift.
What if the book Twilight focused on Edward (which Myers intended with another book but faced some issues with that). What if the story had Bella as a middle aged mom? What if the roles of human and vampire switched? What if the story took place in another time, or in another place?
Considering your own story, take a moment to switch roles, gender, age, era, and other factors and see if the story shifts to something better (or worse). Also consider writing from another character’s point of view. You might find another character just as compelling as your first choice of character.
Post in comments your own methods and choices for characters. Do you write from a character similar to yourself, or do you like to shift personalities and become someone else?