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backstories, Character's inner life, off-the-shelf choices, personalities, tropes -

One way to develop characters in writing is to ask questions, to mentally interview the characters. It is by asking these questions that we get a sense of the character’s inner life, their personalities, their backstories. And it’s also how we develop characters out of the trap of stereotypes, tropes, and off-the-shelf choices. For example, there are one hundred million (or so) scripts about detectives solving a mystery and/or chasing a serial killer. Many of the protagonists of these scripts are variations on a single detective character; if you have seen one, you have seen 99% of the others. Even...

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