Creating Character, Loving Character

We all watch movies and TV shows. We fall in love with characters in a movie, we become attached to one in a TV show. I'm sure this is something that we can all relate to. We are drawn to that guy or girl on screen who depicts our ideal person. We feel with the characters. Laughing and cheering when they save the day. Crying when they are heart broken or get killed off the show.

Whether they are good or bad, we become attached to them. This is because they are somehow likable, somehow relatable, and somehow we love them no matter how many mistakes they make. What we aren't aware of is how much more the creator of this character loves them.

When a writer writes a story, they have to spend a large portion of their time thinking of the character, creating depth to the character. As a writer you have to love your character. Story is driven by conflict-but a good writer will want to create conflict that provides growth for their character. It is the conflict that draws us into the story and plot of the movie. It is the conflict that makes the character so relatable. A writer cannot throw conflict in simply for story, rather they carefully place it in for character growth.

Let me draw it out for you.

Suppose fictional character James wants to ask Taylor out. But he isn't the most attractive guy and doesn't really have what it takes to date her. Maybe there's another much more attractive guy in the picture who has his eye on her as well. James might embarrass himself in front of her, lowering his chances of even talking to her. We can keep throwing in conflict for James, but we will still root for James despite his unattractiveness and awkward personality. As a writer you might give him the girl or have him learn to be himself and realize that is more important than anything. At the end of the story, James has been through a lot but you have written in the conflict so that he would learn, realize and grow.

This is just a simple example of the way a screenwriter might grow a character. You create conflict not for the audience to be hooked to the film but because you love your character so much. Directors then will make sure the conflict and story is one that the audience will enjoy. Screenwriters simply do it because they have fallen in love with their character. Or they should, because that's what makes a great screenplay-the relationship between the writer and the protagonist.

Our life is a screenplay and we are the protagonist.

...wait, what?

God is the ultimate screenwriter. In Psalm 139 we are told that we were knit inside our mother's womb, that He has searched us and He knows us. He created us and He loves us. We are HIS protagonist. It all makes sense! Just like in a screenplay, as the writer strategically places conflict in the protagonist's life and story for depth and growth, God provides us with struggles and challenges because he wants us to grow. Just as we love and root for the protagonist despite how unattractive they are or how bad they mess up, God still loves us and roots for us no matter what. As much as a screenplay is the character's story, it is also the writer's story. Our life is God's story, it is His playwright that we are to partake in. This life is not our own because we are a part of something more-God's story.

Let us be aware of this "something more" that we are a part of and remember that the struggles and challenges that we face in life isn't random. We don't have to face it alone because our author is writing our story and He is familiar with all of our ways. Each challenge, each struggle is there for us to grow and build character. God's mission and task for us is what we need to focus on. "God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are" (Eph. 2:10). Now despite the mistakes that we make, our author still loves us, but we must always persevere through struggles and trials-big and small because we know that all of these things are building us up and maturing us to create a life worthy of God's story.

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