davidlitwack.com and is posted here with permission.
So many of the books on writing focus on one area: dialog, style, character, setting or plot. That’s why I’m so fond of the book, Story, by Robert McKee. It analyzes what makes a good story, well told. One of its most important premises is that plot and character are inseparable from one another. And what makes a story memorable is a memorable character. What does that mean? Likeable, attractive, heroic? Here’s McKee’s view:
“The vitality of literary character has less to do with dramatic action, novelistic coherence, and even plain plausibility, let alone likeability, than with a larger philosophical sense, our awareness that a character’s actions are deeply important, that something profound is at stake, with the author brooding over the face of the character like God over the face of the waters. That is how readers retain in their minds a sense of character.”