Grab Readers With a Multi-Faceted Characteristic Moment

how to grab readers with a multi-faceted characteristic moment pinterestWant to write a character your audience will immediately go bananas for–and will remain passionately fanatical about after your first book comes out? Of course you do. And it all starts with introducing your protagonist in a killer characteristic moment.

The characteristic moment is your protagonist’s big debut. He steps onto the stage, the spotlight hits him–and he shines. In this one moment, he shows readers what he’s all about: the good, the bad, the potential for greatness to come. The characteristic moment tells readers shows readers exactly why this protagonist is going to be worth reading about.

Today, we’re going to take a look at how to ace not just a basic characteristic moment, but a multi-faceted character introduction that conveys all the most important info about your protagonist in one fell swoop.

But first…

Welcome to the Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Series

In the wake of Captain America: Civil War, I’ve been re-watching the Marvel series and appreciating the overall scope of their storytelling vision even more than usual. Even better, I’ve been gleaning all kinds of interesting writing insights. This isn’t a perfect series, by any means, so we’re going to be looking at both the things Marvel aced (like Tony Stark’s characteristic moment) and the things they bombed on (be ye warned: the Age of Ultron post might be reeeeaallly long).

The series will be updated every Friday for the next couple months, featuring each movie in its chronological order. Which brings me right back to the beginning of the beginning and the characteristic moment that started it all…

How to Wow Readers With a Complex Characteristic Moment

As I talked about in its Story Structure Database analysis, Jon Favreau’s Iron Man is a study in excellent structure. This is a busy movie with nearly half a dozen plot elements running at the same time, and it handles them all perfectly thanks to complex structural moments that pull double and triple duty.

Billionaire-genius-playboy-philanthropist Tony’s intro is a great example.

Tony Stark Billionaire Genius Playboy Philanthropist

Iron Man (2008), Marvel Studios.

After the flashforward scene in Afghanistan, where Tony’s convoy is attacked and Tony is wounded and captured by terrorists, the narrative jumps back to properly present its protagonist to the audience.

We should note, first, that Tony is one of the most difficult types of character to introduce: he’s a complex character. He’s charming, funny, and likable–but he’s also insensitive, arrogant, and rude. In short, he’s a good character. (If you’re thinking this seems to mean that if you’ve created a good character, his characteristic moment should be a little tricky…. you’d be more right than not.)

We see that Tony is being honored with an award for his brilliant innovations in weaponry, that he couldn’t care less about the award, that he doesn’t care about embarrassing his friends with his actions, that he’s unconcerned about the deaths his weapons are causing, but that he’s also proud of the positive scientific breakthroughs his company has accomplished. He’s witty, can’t keep his mouth shut for anything, but is cool with putting others at ease (such as the soldiers in the convoy).

Peace Sign Tony Stark Iron Man Soldier

Iron Man (2008), Marvel Studios.

Almost all of that comes across in the single scene at the casino. We know Tony Stark inside out in the space of a few minutes. Pretty fast work for one scene.

So how’d they do it? And how can you repeat it?

Step 1: List Your Protagonist’s Important Characteristics

Before you can know how to introduce everything that’s important about your protagonist, first you gotta make sure you know what’s important. Take a look at the important elements of Tony’s character that are revealed in this opening characteristic moment:

  • He’s an engineering genius–a child prodigy
  • He’s CEO of the top weapons manufacturing company in the world
  • His parents were tragically killed in a car accident
  • He was mentored by his father’s partner–whom he eventually surpassed

Iron Man (2008), Marvel Studios.

  • He has won lots of awards
  • He doesn’t care about people honoring him in any way except how he wants to be honored
  • He’s a playboy
  • He’s best friends with by-the-book Lt. Col. James Rhodes

Iron Man (2008), Marvel Studios.

  • He’s unconcerned with the consequences of his actions (small- or large-scale)
  • He has a lightning-fast wit and no compunction about being impolite
  • He plays verbal games with people and uses insults to keep them from getting too close, all while trusting in his charisma to keep from alienating anyone too far
  • He doesn’t play by any rules but own

Step 2: Break Down the Characteristics Into Actions and Impressions

That’s a pretty long list up there. But not to worry: not all of these things have to be introduced separately. Many of them, such as his impolite wit, can be introduced simultaneously with other elements.

This is where you break down your list into two categories: Actions (which must be deliberately dramatized) and Impressions (which can be conveyed via subtext). Below, the “impressions” in our original list are now in italics.

  • He’s an engineering genius–a child prodigy
  • He’s CEO of the top weapons manufacturing company in the world
  • His parents were tragically killed in a car accident
  • He was mentored by his father’s partner–whom he eventually surpassed
  • He has won lots of awards
  • He doesn’t care about people honoring him in any way except how he wants to be honored
  • He’s a playboy
  • He’s best friends with Lt. Col. James Rhodes
  • He’s unconcerned with the consequences of his actions (small- or large-scale)
  • He has a lightning-fast wit and no compunction about being impolite
  • He plays verbal games with people and uses insults to keep them from getting to close, all the while trusting in his charisma to keep from alienating anyone too far
  • He doesn’t play by any rules but own

Impressions don’t have to be explained. They can be hinted at through the character’s actions. What this is means is that you can easily get your characteristic moment to pull double duty. While you’re busy dramatizing the Actions and important backstory (such as Tony’s playboy ways and the selfish nature of his relationships with Obadiah Stane and Rhodey), you can have the Impressions running silently in the background. Instantly, your characteristic moment is pulling twice as much weight.

Step #3: Choose the Right Scene for Your Characteristic Moment

Here comes the tricky part. You now have to choose just the right scene to illustrate all of these important characteristics.

It’s possible (and sometimes unavoidable) to break down your opening into a series of characteristic moments, in which you present first one of your protagonist’s important traits in one scene, then other traits in other scenes.

However, this approach offers the inherent risks of slowing down the plot, failing to present your character’s “big picture,” and appearing far more simplistic and less interesting than the layered approach used in Iron Man.

That’s why you must choose your characteristic moment’s scene carefully. Brainstorm settings and conflicts that will allow you to illustrate as many of your character’s important Actions and Impressions as possible.

In Iron Man, the awards ceremony at the casino offered the opportunity for a rapid-fire exploration of Tony’s backstory, which then segued into the brilliant moment when Tony fails to show up to claim his award: dramatizing both his contempt for other people’s rules and his casual self-centeredness.

It also allowed the important contagonist and sidekick characters, Stane and Rhodey, to be introduced, before showing us Tony himself, hard at “work” at the craps table, surrounded by fawning people with whom he cheerfully puts up while also disdaining them, sometimes to their faces.

Iron Man Tony Stark CHristine Everdeen

Iron Man (2008), Marvel Studios.

The scene that is best for your protagonist’s characteristic moment will depend entirely on the character himself and the needs of your story. But don’t settle. Dig deep to find a fun scene that presents the overall tone of your story and shows readers as much as possible about your fabulous character.

Who knows–maybe they’ll still be clamoring for him eight years and six stories later!

Stay tuned: Next week, we’ll take a look at one of the main reasons The Incredible Hulk flopped.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! What does your characteristic moment’s scene allow you to show readers about your protagonist? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Do you have cameras in my apartment? I was researching and experimenting with characteristic moments just recently and then this post comes up.


  2. Great post! Something about the way my characteristic moment is currently written has been annoyingly nagging the back of my mind, so this is perfect! ?
    So then would it be a correct generalized assessment to say that the”Action” characteristics are more external and fact-based, while “Impression” characteristics are more internal and emotional?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Exactly right. We could also say, generally speaking again, that Action characteristics are the context and Impression characteristics are the subtext–they don’t always need to be spelled out.

  3. Wow… I never looked at the opening scene of Iron Man quite like that before. I always wondered how to find that special balance between messed-up-human-being & hilariously-funny-and-good-natured that makes Tony so amazing. In spite of his shortcomings, you just can’t dislike him! Now it doesn’t sound quite so impossible to manage.

    This article was extremely helpful! I cannot wait for the rest of the series. 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      It all starts, of course, with a great character, which Tony definitely is. His secret is mostly in his complexity. There’s nothing simple or straightforward about him. Even *he* doesn’t really understand himself half the time, even though he doesn’t know it.

  4. I like this post, and I thought that he valued humanity, since he shut down one of his companies so that his suits don’t end up being used for the wrong purposes like they did with Stane, since he originally made them for our soldiers, but that kinda fell flat.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Tony’s life is a series of good intentions and dramatic gestures–many of which don’t turn out so good.

  5. I love most of the Marvel movies and Iron Man is awesome. While I agree with everything about Tony, one of my favorite moments from the movie is the when Pepper and the reporter have their showdown at Tony’s mansion.

    Pepper is quietly awesome and doesn’t take anything from anybody. Guess it comes from dealing with someone like Tony all the time. 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      She really is. I like the presentation of her character and her relationship with Tony best in this movie. She loses a little of that My Girl Friday angle once she takes over the company.

  6. One of the biggest things I face on a day-to-day basis while writing, is figuring out how to best organize information. I appreciate the list of actions and impressions, it’s definitely something I want to try out. I find even though I’ve been writing for years, I’m still always playing with new ways (or BETTER ways) to organize information that makes it easy to access and immediately spawns creativity.
    As far as the question goes, the characteristic scene in my story shows the main character to be an idealistic, self-serving, jerk! Since it is a comedy, the tone is funny, however, the main character really gets this one scene to show us how far down the path he is in terms of his biases against certain people.
    I still haven’t wrote the scene, but I know that when I do, it will be on the of the few scenes that I am sure I will have to write and rewrite dozens of times. It HAS to be JUST right!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Sounds like your guy and Tony would get along just fine! Or probably not. :p

      Another great characteristic moment for a potentially unlikable character, is from Bruce Willis’s comedy The Kid. He’s a massive jerk in the opening scene, but he gets away with it because 1) he’s funny and entertaining and 2) the people he’s being a jerk *to* are people we’ve all wanted to bawl out ourselves on occasion (someone dawdling in the checkout line, an overly friendly/chatty fellow airplane passenger, a hypocritical politician). It’s a matter of degree. If the character had been a jerk to a sweet little girl with a puppy, we probably wouldn’t have gotten past the opening scene with him.

      • Haha, yeah I’m not sure Tony would get along with him.
        Funny thing, I watched that movie recently so those examples resonate with me pretty clearly. And I couldn’t agree more with there being a degree in which we will still want to follow a main character who is a jerk. It’s a fine line, and finding that without ostricizing the reader/viewer is a tough call. I think comedy can definitely help to sweeten the moment (as your great example in “The Kid”).

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          It really is a tricky line–and it’s a tempting one too, because when these “jerk” characters work, they’re usually absolutely brilliant.

  7. This is great! Makes me really excited about figuring out how to show off my characters… There are few things I enjoy more than watching interesting characters behave like their complex selves.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Characteristic moments are a really fun exercise! There’s no better feeling than knowing you found the perfect scene to bring a character to life in the opening chapter.

  8. Ooh, this gives me some new ways to think about fleshing out my introductory scene! I swear, every time I read something of yours, my book grows by another 1,000 words! It’s awesome! 🙂

  9. I’m so excited about this Marvel series you’re doing! This is illuminating, as usual. I’m actually doing the homework on this one, writing out my protagonists characteristics. The opening sequence has my protagonist in action, then the following few scenes show his personality etc. in subtext as he interacts with other characters. Would you say it’s better to make the opening hook as complex as possible? Or is the pacing of a couple of chapters good enough?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      It depends on the story. It’s better to create an awesome simple hook than a muddy complex hook. But, generally speaking, complexity is a good thing. It’s great when scenes like this can do double or triple duty.

  10. James Hargreaves says

    You labeled Jedediah as the Contagonist, but I always saw him as the primary Antagonist (especially in the end). In your view, does he move from one to the other throughout thr story? Is that a common occurrence?

    Also, I am having trouble finding ways to build a fantastic characteristic moment for my protagonist. He tends to be a loner, doesn’t think very highly of himself, and as a result gets picked on by the school bully a lot. Despite his low self-esteem, he has a good heart and good survival instincts that help the other characters in the story (middle schoolers surviving on another planet). He eventually becomes a reluctant leader for the group, but it takes a while. Right now, many of the other characters (the Contagonist, skeptic, mentor, etc. ) seem much more interesting.

    I don’t want to make the protagonist a character people feel sorry for. His journey revolves around stepping out of his shell and learning to stand up for himself, while also learning how to live in the world where there are other people.
    Any strategies for fleshing him out in a way that can make him Unforgetable?

    Thanks again!

    • James Hargreaves says

      Obadiah Not Jedidiah . . .

      • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

        Heh, and yeah, my eyes crossed there for a second, trying to figure who Jedidiah was… :p

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      You know, I just realized I spaced out on Stane’s having hired the terrorists to kidnap Tony, which, of course, *does* make him the primary antagonist. That said, if you pulled that little detail, he’s basically positioned as the devil’s advocate contagonist throughout the majority of the story.

      As for your protag, focus on his best qualities–and if there aren’t any qualities that are good enough at this point, then see if you can find a scene that will illustrate his *potential* for those qualities later on.

  11. Kate Flournoy says

    This post has made me very happy. I ran through my latest characteristic moment and checked off every single thing. And I didn’t even know (consciously) what I was doing when I wrote it.
    This makes me very happy. 😀

  12. KM. you are the best list-maker I know. And I mean lists which teach us, step by step. This piece on the characteristic moment is super! Cheers! @LatelaMary

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Well, for better or worse, I’m an INTJ–which means lists are mother’s milk to me. 😉 So glad you’re finding them useful as well!

      • Kate Flournoy says

        This is really funny. It seems like the majority of writers are INTJs. I’m an INFP and I have never come across a single other writer of my personality type. Is there a reason for that, do you think? That the majority of writers are INTJs? Or am I just imagining things? 😛 😉

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          Actually, I was just musing last night how more writers than not seem to be INFJs. The INFJ is the rarest of the types, but they’re *everywhere* in writer’s circles. :p I’ve only run into a few INTJs, although as the second rarest type, we’re also comparatively thick on the ground amongst writers. It’s the Introverted Intuition–highly subjective imagination–that gears NJs toward being writers.

          But we see brilliant writers of all types. Here’s a fun post on how the different cognitive functions approach writing.

          • Kate Flournoy says

            I guess that does make sense. 😉

            And that is hilariously true. I’m Fe for sure. 😛 😀

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            Actually, if you’re an INFP, your functions would be Fi Ne Si Te. Fe is Extroverted Feeling and would belong to an FJ.

          • Kate Flournoy says

            Ooh boy. Just goes to show I haven’t quite got all this figured out yet. 😛

            Thanks for setting me straight. I was only introduced to MBTI about a month ago, so I’m still learning the ropes. 😉

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            MBTI is fabulous, so intricate and deep. I’ve been studying it for years, and still haven’t got it all figured out. However, here’s a good page on the cognitive functions:

          • What an awesome article! I was just reading Henry James this morning and thinking about how many different wonderful things can be done in fiction with different cognitive functions.

            I have always seen the INFP type referred to as the classic writer. I asked a question on Quora about Tolkien’s type, and someone commented that I seemed to be assuming Tolkien was an INFP “just because that’s the typical writer type.”

            There probably would be more INxPs among writers if we were better at getting things done (which we can be, without sacrificing all that Ne idea-generation and Ti or Fi precision/fire). The problem is that INxPs are great at generating possibilities (because of Extraverted Intuition, which naturally generates lots of ideas), but are not naturally oriented around bringing those ideas into being. We have to learn to do so, if only because Ti and Fi both need completion, though they aren’t as practical about bringing it about as, say, Te.

            I understand it can really be hard to tell INFJs from INFPs, because INFJs’ need for harmony can sometimes make them seem “indecisive” — which the less precise MBTI descriptions associate with P. As Katie pointed out, the real question is whether your top functions are Introverted Intuition (Ni) and Extraverted Feeling (Fe) or Extraverted Intuition (Ne) and Introverted Feeling (Fi). The differences are super-interesting and helpful to learn about.

            I’m still learning about the subtle differences between Ni and Ne, but I think the difference is kind of like the metaphor of the hedgehog and the fox — the fox knows many little things (Ne), but the hedgehog knows one big thing (Ni). My speculation is that Ni writers generate a few big, internally consistent, complex ideas and follow them through, while Ne writers generate a lots of little ideas and have to use Ti or Fi to weave them together into something coherent.

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            I love the fox/hedgehog metaphor!

            Glad you’re enjoying the lists. 😉

          • spacechampion says

            I think fiction writers are usually either INFP or INFJ, with a small percent of other types. I’d expect INFPs would be the “pantser” or as George R R Martin calls it the “gardener” type, and INFJs the “plotter” and “architect” type. Martin and Tolkien are most probably INFPs, I’ve seen it written.

            Tony Stark, definitely ENTP, and his buddy Bruce Banner could be INFJ — a natural pair for an ENTP. We INFJs definitely have our “HULK SMASH!!” moments.

            I think Fi-Ne gives INFPs cognitive processes that favor constructing narratives, about their own lives with them as the protagonist is a really long epic story, and when they meet new people their always trying to figure out how that person fits into their story, where of course they are the main character; while their similar type ENFPs with their Ne-Fi are focused on more episodic narratives, always seeking out new stories to join and play more of an Impact character role for a while before they grow bored and move on.

            Ni-Fe of INFJs is focused on seeking out meaning, so INFJ writers tend to think about overarching themes and connections and human systems. Personally I’m struggling to define the meaning of my story before I can even both to plot it.

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            We can find all the types as writers, although it seems like I see more INFJs than any other one type. I tend to think G.R.R. Martin is an XNTP. As for Tony Stark, I’ve always just run with the general opinion of his being an ENTP too, but I just saw a really good argument for his being as ESFP. I tend to think Banner as represented by Mark Ruffalo (not Edward Norton, who probably is an INFJ) is an INTP.

        • Just came across your post. I’m an INFP/ INTP (usually resulting in an INFP result on tests)

          I’m trying to write, but my issue is getting bogged down and stuck on things. I’m trying to return to a series I pushed aside for about 10-15 years.

          Perhaps part of the problem with our personality is perhaps the tendency to see both sides of the conflict, thus makes it hard to draft out solid antagonists/ etc… I’m trying to work out a world where there is no real good or evil, but those that do bad things believing they are doing the right thing. This makes it hard for me to draft out convincing war stories, etc…at least what my beta readers brought up. They don’t like that I seem to gloss over the bad things my protagonists did even if they desire to make things right and do good things later in the plot. Perhaps I need to find some kind of balance. I struggle with the black/white and good/bad in with stories in general. (I can see a war scene and then think, but what about their perspective? Are there good people on the other side? How does that play into the story?)

          That and taking criticism is tricky. I really want to keep to my idea, explain away weak plot holes in such a way that the reader understands. It makes sense to me, but why doesn’t it to those outside my head? It is frustrating and limiting. (I can sabotage myself by getting too sensitive and/or stubborn. I want to hang onto certain key things, but am told they make no sense outside my mind.)

          Maybe that is an INFP flaw? Shyness and anxiety also limit me. Often I am content to just write for myself and not share my story with anyone, because of fear or whatever. By keeping my work only to myself (for several years) cuts myself away from potential valuable feedback that could have helped me work out stuff much earlier and avoided some tricky situations now having to go back and change things in a whole series, risking serious framework alterations.) I don’t know.

      • Joe Long says

        Yes, every new post is some variation of “(some number) Ways To Achieve Your Goal” !

    • It is precisely the lists that makes this blog so useful to me. So many times I read the lists and realize that Katie has crystallized something I had thought of in theory but did not know how to translate into practical form.

      Of course I often read lists that teach me something entirely new, and that’s useful, too!

  13. Ingrid B. says

    Excellent timing with this post! Actually, all your posts are great no matter where I am in my WIP! I’ve found one or another of your posts will always help me decipher issues and find remedies, come to think of it…

    I was working on a revision of a draft I did three years ago, beginning at the beginning with the first chapter and my MC. Loving my changes so far but, to me little somethings were notably missing in the development of my protagonist.

    I think a lot of what you point out here could be applied to working these bugs out to help refine my MC into the person with depth of character that I’d love him to be. This post is very helpful for me and I just wanted to send along a big ‘THANKS!”.

    The original “Ironman” is very probably my favorite installment (hard to decide!) of the Marvel Series, so very happy you focused on one of my ultimately favorite characters in this series simply because of the complexity of Tony Stark’s personality. He’s a fascinating character! Thank you for this as well!

    p.s. I’m hoping that 200k whopper of a first draft is your Dreamlander sequel… 😉

    Keep up your incredible work!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Hah, the 200k-er is actually my historical superhero WIP Wayfarer. Dreambreaker‘s still in the early outline phase. But I’m sure it’ll be a whopper too!

  14. Blake, my protagonist, has super messy hair when waking up and generally all the time. Her sister Bridget has fine, thin hair and mercilessly teases Blake for her own.

    The opening scene has Bridget snickering at Blake’s hair. She loses her temper and gets so angry at Bridget that she’s about to say something nasty back, but decides to spare her sister’s feelings. Blake walks to the kitchen instead, and forgets what happened as she sips her morning tea and listens to the news.

    I’m looking forward to the next article!!

  15. Wonderful article, and so helpful! And with Marvel awesomeness, too… 😀 One question – is it best if the characteristic moment is included in the protagonist’s first scene, or can it vary sometimes?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Let’s put it this way: whatever you scene you open with *will* be a characterizing moment simply because it’s your readers’ first impression of the character. What that means, of course, is that you want to take the best advantage possible of that first scene.

  16. As much I love Ironman (full disclosure: Big Fan) and am impressed with how well it is crafted, I do have to point out one thing that was missed.
    We learn a great deal about Tony Stark in the opening scenes of Ironman thanks largely to an award ceremony presenter who gives us Tony’s biography in a slide presentation. This device, introducing a character “telling” what the author should be “showing”, sometimes works in movies, but is disingenuous in print. “Ghost in the Shell” is often hailed as a animated classic, but if you look at the script carefully, the characters seem to be always explaining things to each other or shooting each other. It barely works because it’s a movie. In print it would be boring.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Good point. Although I think there are ways a device like this can be pulled off in writing, it’s much harder than in film. One of the main reasons Iron Man starts with the convoy scene in Afghanistan, is because it provides the necessary Hook before delving into backstory.

      • Joe Long says

        Tony Stark is such a well crafted character. What I didn’t like about the first movie, which it shared with “The Hulk”, is that the climactic battles were both against the mirror image of the superhero – all the same characteristics and a similar origin, created in response to the protagonist, but done as evil instead of good.

        I also very much liked Tony Stark in IR3, especially his interactions with the kid and the Mandarin. However, the climax was an embarrassment, deus ex machina.

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          Iron Man 3 is an absolute mess structurally–and we won’t even talk about the disservice to the Mandarin. But it still has a lot of elements I like.

  17. I wrote my opening scene two years ago and revised it one year ago. From the beginning I knew I had to introduce the protagonist, but I was raw and have learned a lot since. The rewrite changed much of the telling to showing and worked on introducing subplots and back stories better. The basic structure of the scene didn’t change, and I’m glad to say that after reading this piece I believe it stands up well. I will make a list of the actions and impressions that are in there now and see if there’s anything important missing.

    Reading the very beginning again just now, the first couple of paragraphs still tell, and thinking of how I can dramatize them should give an opportunity for interaction between the MC and his parents.

    That leads right into meeting the love of his life and the hormonal reaction that follows. He’s ashamed that at age nineteen, about to be a junior in college, he still hasn’t had an emotional let alone physical relationship with a girl, despite being a nice enough guy – it’s a result of shyness and insecurity. He also plays and is a big fan of baseball, which will continue throughout. He has a harsh relationship with his father, which is hinted as exacerbating his anxieties.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      It’s important to note, too, that some important aspects of the character may *not* be present at the beginning. He may have to grow into (or devolve into) some of them. Obviously, those can’t be demonstrated in the opening characteristic moment.

      • Right, this is where we would cover back story kind of stuff – who the character is at the beginning.

        I should also add to me mental list above, “Pedantic to the point of being annoying” which suggests intelligence and an attention to detail, and is concerned by accuracy and process.

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          And which can be humorous if introduced right!

          • Joe Long says

            Picking up in the 4th sentence of the scene:

            “How many husbands is this for her?”

            She replied, “Four? Three kids – and now this new guy.”

            I added, “Two, actually. She only married the first one, Dave’s dad.” They both stared at me. “What? Just saying! I remember yunz talking about it back whenever.”

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            Nice voice for the protag.

  18. Shubham Shetty says

    What about D.C?
    The Dark Knight trilogy was Great. B.V.S was bad, Suicide Squad was horrible. Man of steel was okay.
    Please write something about D.C as well

  19. I really loved your post! It was extremely helpful.

  20. Essie-Marie says

    This is awesome! Tony is my favorite Avenger 🙂

  21. Just when I’m getting down to writing the story, I come back here to see if I’ve missed anything in the development stage, like, yup. (oh, haha on Forbes. Tony Stark takes reigns, s/b reins.)

  22. Melinda Kraft says

    I’m a technology analyst by trade. Your books and articles on writing satisfy my analyst brain and have freed a personal creativity I thought I was lacking. Thank you!

  23. Samantha is an identical twin, research nurse practitioner at the College of Medicine and a graduate nursing professor at Columbia University, a feminist, never been married, sexual abuse survivor.

  24. Tracy Davies says

    Katie, thank you for sharing your knowledge and observations so generously. Your work on this blog is outstanding. All the best, Tracy

  25. sanityisuseless says

    Can you add more for the more recent films, (especially infinity war/endgame and ffh/nwh?) Thanks!

  26. Thank you! I’ve been writing about my protaganist for years and I barely know him.


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