Story – Robert McKee's Creative Storytelling Magazine Issue 005 – Drew Carey - Page 44

CHARACTER CREATION dence, he gets lucky, and he’s given a chance to fight in the big time. He doesn’t win his championship bout with Apollo Creed. Instead, he wins a victory of courage and tenacity for himself as he is standing on his feet after 15 rounds with the champ. This fills his need for self-respect. As Rocky puts it, he becomes somebody: a guy who went the distance with Apollo Creed. Some other examples from popular classics: in the opening pages of The Chronicles of Narnia, young Edmund is an immature, obnoxious, spiteful kid who desperately needs to grow up and find maturity. Over the arc of the telling, he becomes King Edmund the Just, a kind, loving, mature king. The same need for maturity is found in young Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind and in Huck Finn in The Adventures of Huck Finn. When a story begins, only the author knows the character’s need. In time, the author may or may not bring the reader audience in on the secret lacking inside the protagonist. In some rare tellings, the author may make the character aware of his need, but if so, the author will withhold this revelation to the very end of the telling. For, if the protagonist were to realize his need at the beginning of the story, his need would become his desire. When a need becomes known to the character, it’s hard for the character to ignore it. Very likely, it transforms into something the protagonist wants. As a result, the protagonist may chase this new desire in directions his author does not want to go. Suppose, for example, early in Rocky, the protagonist stopped putting himself down and came to realize that his problem is that he lacks self-respect and, therefore, needs to do something that will give him self-respect. Not knowing what to do, let’s say Rocky goe ́Ѽ)