Angry Characters And What To Do With Them


Angry characters are characters who haven’t found a way to live in the world as it really is. They’re itchy inside their own skin. They’re good to write about. Anger can be an engine for plot, for characterisation.

At the moment, I’m writing a screenplay for a production company about a superhero. I realised that the hero’s characterisation was a bit paper-thin. While I know we’re not looking for a deep character study in this type of film, I realised that this character is angry. He feels powerless at the start of the story. Invisible. Impatient. Frustrated.

As soon as I saw this in the hero, I could make him a bit more three-dimensional. It could give him a purpose – something to pursue in the story.

It’s true that we don’t like passive characters in a story. Anger drives a character. It makes them take actions that leads to conflict with other characters. The anger inside them is like the grain of sand inside the shell of an oyster. It chafes at them. It causes them to change, to transform.

Explore the anger of character this week. It can be your main character’s anger or an antagonist’s anger – it doesn’t matter.

Use it to tell a better story.

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. The Crowded Dream: Letting Go of Guilt
  2. Baggage Check – What’s Stopping You From Being A Happy Writer?
  3. 3 Secrets To Simplicity In Your Writing Process

This article has 2 comments

  1. Peter Barnett

    I do love all your tips and ideas, however it always means more writing is required to uplift my books in the ways you suggest. Interesting yesterday I added some anger of my antagonist after a problem with her protaganist and I felt it helped build her character so this tip was very timely and confirmed what I had done. Please keep up all your tips. I wish I could come to your writing courses but then I’m in the UK, so have to make do with some excellent stuff over here.

  2. Anthony Ehlers

    Thanks, Peter. It’s always a delight to hear from writers – near or far. I always love feedback. You can always look at an online Writers Write course?

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