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  • Writer's pictureSteve Bynoe

Character Diamonds

So after completing the second chapter of the next Chronokari Alpha adventure this week, my mind flashed back to a vital writing tip that I picked up several years ago. The year was 2009 and I was attending the Kidscreen Summit in New York City. I had travelled to the Big Apple for the conference to learn a little bit about the animation business and what it would take to bring my ideas to broadcasters.

During one of the seminars led by an industry vet and broadcasting executive, I learned about character diamonds for the first time. Halfway through the session he introduced the concept of character diamonds and how they were used to create the stellar characters in the movie Wall-E. After breaking down the protagonist Wall-E using a character diamond, the exec stated that the diamonds aren’t just used to help writers create well rounded characters but also to aid in developing the narrative itself. It's been said that sometimes stories write themselves. While that may not be completely true, having great three-dimensional characters can go a long way to determining how the plot of a story can go.

Shortly after returning from the Kidscreen Summit, I used character diamonds to help me create Miles and Derrick’s personalities. The diamond not only helped to forge their personalities but also helped to shape other aspects of their character including their backstories and dialogue. I still refer to those character diamonds when I’m writing and constructed others for the villains and supporting characters in the Chronokari universe. Here are the character diamonds for Miles and Derrick. Each corner of the diamond represents an aspect of their personalities.

The contrast in their personalities provides opportunities for conflict between the two of them. It also allows them to compliment each other based on their strengths and weaknesses. If and how that develops will depend on how much turmoil I choose to put into the narrative. These traits aren't set in stone either. They are subject to change and can reflect the growth of the characters over time.

That's it for now. I plan to catch my Montreal Canadiens on TV this afternoon before settling in for Super Bowl 50. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and see you in seven or less.

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