Last week I had the immense pleasure of being part of our annual elementary school play-in-a-week. The PTCO takes over the cafeteria during fall intercession and puts on a show. We had over 100 children in the cast, and that's not counting the teenagers from the junior high and high school who were our stage crew, our assistant directors, our writers, and our choreographers, PLUS all the moms who made costumes, painted sets, blocked scenes, and herded groups all week. It was one big long creativity party.
A week before rehearsals were to start the script was nearly done. The show was cute, it was working well, but it still needed something.
And then one of the moms took the script home and gave the characters personality.
Where most of them had been generic kids spouting lines, they became surfer kid, gangsta kid, cheerleader kid, detective kid, boy scout, girl scout, polite kid, cocky kid, stressed kid, sleepy kid, etcetera. Suddenly the whole show sprang to life. Each child actor or actress had a distinctive role to get into.
The characters made all the difference. When each one had a unique voice, the show went from pretty good to absolutely amazing. So writers everywhere, learn from this. If your story seems to sag a bit, give it some punch by strengthening your characters.