Ask the Coach: On Character Development & Arc with Screenwriter Jeff Howard – On Script Mag

In this month’s “Ask the Coach” article, I’m addressing — with help from Screenwriter Jeff Howard (‘Midnight Mass,’  ‘Haunting of Hill House,’  ‘Oculus,’  ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil,’  ‘Gerald’s Game’) — two similar but separate questions from readers about character arc and character development:

Question 1: How to develop a character arc that is consistent with the story?

Question 2: How to continue developing your characters throughout the story?

Here are the main insights discussed in response:

  • Character or plot first?
  • Imagine your plot and character together from the start.
  • Intertwine character and action early.
  • Don’t worry about ‘core wounds,’ etc.
  • Think of your character as a real human being — always trying to win.
  • See character as living through the eyes of another person.
  • Embrace action and character as one and the same.


To me, good character work is living within the moment of what’s happening — the actual moments of the story — not laying some construct of life-changing stuff on top of your story. 
— Jeff Howard


Want the full scoop? Get all the details in the full article on Script Mag:
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.

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