HOW TO CRAFT THE ONE-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTER
One-dimensional characters (1DC) are great tools to use if you are trying to highlight a specific trait in your other characters. Say for instance you want show what your hero is not like (i.e. prideful and boisterous).
One tool to use would be to create a 1DC who is prideful and boisterous. Your 1DC will radiate those two traits so vividly that any pride that your main character has will be overshadowed by the 1DC. There are so many avenues that 1DCs can take, and they really do not need to have much backstory or definition. A few simple explanations will suffice.
If you want to show that your main character isn’t a “gold-digger,” then have a character who is. This character may be a friend, or an enemy, or a mother, or a sister.
“Girl, forget him and let’s go out and get wasted!”
“I don’t know…I think I’d rather just stay home and watch a stupid movie and go to bed. I’m kinda’ tired anyway.”
“Tired? Are you serious? It’s not even 10 o’clock. Tell you what. Let’s give it two hours. If you’re not going home with a guy by 11:30, then we can go and watch Kung-Fu Panda or whatever other dumb movie you wanna’ watch.”
“Hey! I like Kung-Fu Panda.”
See how this party-animal displays the characteristics that are not resident within the main character. Whether our main character goes to the party or not, we still know that there is something inside of her that just wants to relax. Besides, she can’t forget about the boy that easily.
1DCs are powerful tools. They are dramatic ways to describe your character without giving the police rundown. “Melody did not like to party. She would rather have stayed home than to go out with her friends. Besides she missed David a lot.” Ok…that works. But the dialogue above does the exact same thing, except this time we get to see Melody make her own decision, rather than the decision that is described to us by the narrator.
Are you trying to show that a character is dominated? Ok. We can do that too. We just need someone to dominate him.
“Martin, comb your hair, and brush your teeth before you leave this house, boy! Don’t act like I didn’t raise you better than that.”
“I already did, Ma. I’m seventeen. I think I can take care of myself.”
“Keep on sassin’ me, and you will be taking care of yourself, boy. Now get in there and brush your hair, like I said.”
Scenes like these are good usages for 1DCs because we can show a side of Martin that we wouldn’t get anywhere else. Martin’s mother is the 1DC here, and she can serve two purposes: 1) Showing how Martin responds to being dominated, and 2) Showing why Martin is the way that he is.
Think of some 1DCs that you may want to include in your work! They’re really helpful additions, if done correctly.
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