*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the television show, The Lost World (which is loosely based the book of the same name). Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either the book or the television 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 The Lost World to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
It’s easy to take someone we have just met or randomly bump into on the street at face value. But looks, more often than not are deceiving.
Ned Malone (David Orth) is initially introduced in The Lost World as the lone American and wet behind the ears reporter who more often than not, needs saving. Far from adventurous, Ned’s motivation to join the Challenger Expedition seems rather mundane: he wants to impress a pretty girl. Ned is secretly in love with his publisher’s daughter, but she has kept him parked in the friend zone for years. To prove his mettle, Ned joins the expedition to not only write about what they will be experiencing, but also in hopes that his crush will notice him and return his affection.
Over the course of the three seasons, Ned become more mature, more confident and more self-sufficient. Part of that due to the friendship turned semi romantic relationship with Veronica Layton (Jennifer O’Dell), a young woman raised in the jungle who is the exact opposite of the woman he was in love with when he left London.
While Ned may appear to be innocent and naive, his past was revealed about a third of the way into the 3rd season. He was unexpectedly drawn into the trenches during World War I and suffered emotional scars that lay deep and open beneath the surface.
To sum it up: No one is just one thing. We all have our light sides, our dark sides, the face we present to the world and the scars that are hidden beneath the surface. One of the primary jobs of a writer is to create fleshed out, 3D characters who are multifaceted and human. Human beings naturally relate to other human beings, whether they be real or fiction. If a character is human and feels human to the audience or reader, the writer has succeeded. If the character feels fake and uncomplicated, the writer still has work to do.