Wright’s Writing Corner: The Three Levels of Character.

After a long break the beautiful and talented Mrs Wright takes a brief look at 1, 2, and 3-D characters


An excerpt:

One-Dimensional Characters- are just that. They have one-dimension to them. The girl with red hair. The angry guy. They are very seldom memorable, because they do not have a second quality to distinguish them from every other character with the same quality.

If the only thing that sets ‘red-haired girl’ apart is her red hair, she is indistinguishable form all other girls with red hair.

One-dimensional characters appear in almost every work, because not all characters need fleshing out. The messenger who brings the news of the king’s death does not need a personality if he’s never to be seen again. Being ‘the messenger’ is just fine.

He could be the messenger with red hair or the messenger who was missing an arm. But he is still a one-dimensional character because he is indistinguishable from other one armed messengers, having no other qualities.

If the character changed their distinguishing characteristic, the reader could not recognize them. If red-haired girl showed up as a blonde, we would never know her.