Character Development Question #78: Risks


What risks are the character willing and unwilling to take, and why?

First, decide what it is that the character would be willing to risk something, large or small, for. This should likely relate to their ultimate ambition or most prevalent desire. What do they believe that they want or need – love, power, protection, freedom, equality, money, a priceless artifact, etc.?

Now that you know what the character is striving towards, determine what the character is and is not willing to risk in order to attain it. Maybe your character is willing to sacrifice every last penny they have in order to get what they want, but would refuse to give up their lover’s life. Maybe someone would sacrifice the life of their dearest friend, but never put their own in danger. Determine the most minor sacrifice they would be willing to make and the most major. Analyze the difference in response to both of them and from what place the character makes these decisions.

What would it take for the character to risk more than normal? Perhaps the character is naturally cautious. Would it take their own life being threatened, the thought of losing their financial security, or the imminent danger of a loved one for them to risk it all? Is their reaction instinctive, or would they still need to weigh the costs between risk and safety? On the other hand, if the character is a natural daredevil, what would be considered the ultimate risk? What would cause them to not risk and play it safe instead?

How do other characters feel about these risks? Do their friends, families and romantic interests agree with their pursuits? More over, do they agree with what they are willing to sacrifice? Regardless of their personal opinions, do they actively attempt to support or inhibit these risks? Do they play a part in changing and encouraging the character’s moral stances?

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