Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Dramatic Trinity, Conscience, Ego, and Need

ego--the essential nature of a character; how a character acts, think, feels about himself; the part of the character that reacts to and interacts with the world of reality.

The ego is the self, out in the causal world, reacting and interacting, planning, attempting to be effective in personal, professional, artistic, and moral relations. In combination with conscience (see) and needs (see), it is a helpful way to define a character, attributing respective sizes and shapes to each with the total combination representing the entire character. A statistically normal character would have equal triads of each aspect, a warning flag for the writer to look elsewhere for an individual of dramatic interest. Dramatic characters tend to have large ego and extreme needs at the expense of conscience.

Assign a given character a score of 100 points to be divided among this dramatic trinity. A character with an enormous conscience, say a 60 or 80 would accordingly have to give up ego and needs points. How would a large conscience effect the ego of your 20- or 30-point ego, and what would be left over for needs?

Try ranking some of your favorite iconic characters, dividing up their 100 points among the three spheres of individuality, then see how helpful this guideline is when it comes time to assess your own creations.


Marta said...

It is hard to explain the way I felt coming by here this evening and seeing the first word--ego. Characters have ego. So do writers. And sometimes they are terrible things.

lowenkopf said...

They may well be terrible sometimes, Marta, but it would be even more terrible without them, terrible particularly for writers, worse yet for their creations.