I’ve just been working on a script with a client of mine and an old truism once again became abundantly clear–the devil is in the details. Or to put it in more proper dramaturgical terms, the ultimate success of your script–to bring it fully to life–depends on how well you’re able to have your audience/reader fall in love with your characters and the only way to really accomplish that is to weave into your telling of your tale an accumulation of the small yet powerful bits of information about your characters and how they behave within their world.
I like to call this the writer’s paradox and it goes something like this: The more detailed, specific, and personal you become in your writing, the more universal it’s appeal. A paradox for sure, because on first glance you’d assume the opposite. But audiences need many handholds to climb into a story and the best handholds by far are always the little things that make your people unique. We want to fall in love with your characters, we want to embrace them. It’s the details–the little seemingly insignificant things unique to each personality–that give us access.
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I’m also a playwright and screenwriter, producing partner in my production company Either/Or Films (The Sensation of Sight and Only Daughter) a professional script consultant, and the author of The Playwright’s Process. You can follow me on Twitter @eitherorfilms or @mfastagescreen. I’m also on Facebook at buzzmclaughlinscriptconsulting.