My wife and I finally got around to some of the comment features on Babylon 5 DVDs, a few interesting discussions of the making and other background. J. Michael Straczynski, the force behind Babylon 5, had a few criteria on character issues that are simple and foundational:
1. What does the character want?
2. How much do they want it?
3. How far will they go to get it?
The answers to these questions, the author intimates, leads to story, stories that may or may not write themselves. B5 has a great character-driven pull that drew from the talent that helped the original Star Trek find its character metal. Anyway, practicing the above 3 criteria calls for lots of thinking about Jim or Deborah.
D wants into Harvard. J wants to win at Chess. Already we have a means of getting into D and J’s worlds, simply by asking question #1. But the question could also come from this: D doesn’t want UCONN. J can’t take loosing. The three questions above shouldn’t be taken as the “prime” questions. But they do give direction and focus and they’re too uncomplicated to forget.
Another issue has to do with the nature of resolution: does the character get what they want?
I think this is excellent simplicity, excellent advice.