*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Will & Grace. Read at your own risk if you have not watched either the previous series or the new series.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Will & Grace to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
For many, Grace Adler (Debra Messing) is the iconic New York City single woman. She is an interior designer, lives with her gay best friend, Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is single, a little neurotic and also a little crazy. Grace’s story line begins in the pilot when she has broken up with her fiance. Will too, is newly single and they decide to live together.
Grace was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City. The second of three girls, she has the tendency to be dramatic, selfish and tries to get stuff for free if she can. The owner of her own design firm, Grace “employs” socialite Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) as her assistant. Using Karen for her contacts rather than for her administrative skills, Grace is often the butt of Karen’s jokes. But over the years, they have become friends and rely on each other outside of the office.
But while Grace takes all of these jokes in stride, she just has a big heart and treats her friends like family.
To sum it up: When creating a character, the important word to remember is balance. No character or human being for that matter, is entirely good or entirely bad. We all have a mix of good qualities and bad qualities. As writers, our job is to ensure that the character you are creating has an equal mixture of good and bad. For example, Grace lets Will take care of her when necessary, but also mooches off of him from time to time. Without that balance, Grace would be a flat character, devoid of human complexities that can and will drive audiences away.