When you watch a movie, do you sometimes get bored? This phenomenon occurs when the plot is not moving forward and it doesn’t move because it has characters that are passive in nature.
So What are Passive Characters?
If you take any fiction writing you’ll see a protagonist/protagonists who have a want and most of the time the story ends when he/she achieves it and sometimes they don’t which is completely okay. During this process the characters will face problems which in writing is called “crisis situation”, and at that moment a character has to solve the crisis to move forward and achieve their want i.e. the character has to make a decision to overcome it and when it occurs the story moves forwards but sometimes they don’t make a decision making the story stuck in one place and those characters are called passive characters
Then how to make your writing not boring?
Write ACTIVE characters.
We’ll look into one Tamil film that has handled active characters at ease. “JIGARTHANDA”, the protagonist Karthik, a filmmaker is met with a crisis in the beginning, middle and the end of the film. In the beginning, he gets cornered by a producer to make a gangster movie, in the middle by Sedhu on making him as the lead in the film and in the end whether to kill Sedhu or not. These three moments define Karthik as an active character and at each stage he takes decisions logically, emotionally and cunningly, thus making the plot go in forward motion, think what would happened if he has not taken those decisions at each of the stages, it would have been simply boring.
But if you look closely in JIGARTHANDA, all most all the characters are active whether it is Sedhu or Karthik or his love interest etc, so should we totally avoid passive characters?
The answer is a strict NO.
On January 20th 2008, a T.V show aired which goes by the name BREAKING BAD, the characters in it are both active and passive and sometimes the mix of both. Skyler is a passive character defined by her in-activeness i.e she doesn’t take strong decisions when she faces problems with Walter, whereas Walter/Heisenberg is polar opposite to his wife, he makes strong logical and emotional decisions when met with crisis, while Jesse is a mix of both, sometimes he passive, sometimes he’s active.
To put in simple words, a bad drama has passive characters, a good drama has active characters but a great drama has both active and passive characters. So, write great dramas.