How to Write Characters – If You’re Going to Be Supportive, You Have to Sell It All The Way

If you’re going to go the supportive route, then you should do your best to try and sell it all the way (this is a big part of knowing how to write characters) – if the character is going to be supportive, they should be REALLY, REALLY supportive – like an over-extreme version of the protagonist. Take the opportunity to use your supporting characters as funhouse mirrors of your protagonist – you might find out some things that help you end up developing both characters even further at the same time. For a really good example of this, take Rose Byrne in Bridesmaids. She’s totally an extreme version of Annie’s girlie-girl, with all of the OCD and none of the ability to let her hair down for even a moment… well, until the end of the movie anyway which proves that those girls knew how to write characters.

A writer whose work you should pay attention to in this regard because he’s really great at writing supporting characters is Kevin Smith. Even if you don’t write comedy at all, you can learn a lot from the way that he compares and contrasts his supporting characters – hell, the guy got really good at making them memorable and likeable that they eventually got their own movie, full out Rosencrantz and Guildenstern style (and it ended up being one of his best films, to boot). The other direction to go is to make these characters not full out villains, but more neutral, or maybe even slightly oppositional, to the protagonist’s goals.

I’m Only Stopping You From Getting Your Life’s Dream Because I Care!

Just because your protagonist has a goal that they want to accomplish, and just because we happen to see the story through their eyes, does not inherently make it a good idea – going back to Breaking Bad for a moment, what if your goal is to try and sell massive amounts of meth so that you can leave your family a small fortune in the event of your demise? Again, Vince is really a genius when it comes to knowing how to write characters.

Although she was a very controversial character during the show’s run, I think Skylar White, who is Walter’s wife on the show, is a fantastic example of what an effective supporting character is supposed to look like. Though she wants Walt to stop with all of the dealings and killing people, she also can’t deny that the added income is good, especially after he loses his teaching job.

If you found out that your spouse was a notorious criminal, would you have the emotional strength needed to turn them into the police? Would you be afraid that they would hurt you? Great supporting characters not only make us ask questions about themselves, and about the protagonist, but they can also make us question the very morality, or validity, of the protagonist’s quest for self-fulfillment. That kind of character depth is hard to come by, but if you can manage to pull it off and demonstrate that you know how to write characters, then you will be much more likely to find your skills as a screenwriter in demand by elite Hollywood producers and studio heads – you know, the kinds that can pay you millions of dollars to do what you’re already doing for free.