You might say it is easy to write something with one character. But this is not easy at all. It is one of the hardest types of stories to write.
The short story I’m working on right now that is a part of my work in progress novel, During the Blue Hour only has one character. It’s about a deleted character from my novel named Zios, a werewolf who was once a wolf that has flashbacks and remembrance of how he became human. In the story he hardly interacts with anyone and it through the flashbacks it follows him showing how he survived .
One of the first things I was taught when I started taking my writing classes both in creative writing and screenwriting in college was how to write short stories and short films with only one to two characters. And I always wondered why the professors always started us off with doing that. Was it a test to see how well you wrote? Were they trying to break us? To weed us out of the crowd?
Usually these type of stories are common with short stories but can be seen in novellas and novels but are rare.
Famous stories that only have one to two characters are:
- Allen Edgar Poe Tell Tale Heart
- Jack London’s “To Build a Fire”
- Hatchet Paperback by Gary Paulsen
- A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer.
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy .
- The Beckett Trilogy (Beckett Trilogy) by Samuel Beckett
You see the list is not long. As writers writing regular stories we rely heavily on the character foil devices of the secondary characters to progress the plot
But writing stories with only one character or no dialogue no less requires lots of emotion and tension to carry the plot.
Tension is the key to these types of story whether it be for a novel or short story. Tension of course is some sort of conflict. Conflict is important in any and every type of story . Both tension and emotion can be as simply written by using behavior and perception of the character . What does the character notice? How does he react? Many of these types of one character stories are usually seen as post-apocalyptic and focus on heavily driven environment stories such as the THE ROAD and Jack London’s “To Build a Fire”
Visualize locations that quickly and dramatically set the stage for your story.
You can also make your characters vivid and distinct by using appearance to help communicate the story’s meaning.
Another way to write a story with one character is to use internal dialogue or the unreliable narrator like Allen Edgar Poe did in the Tell Tale heart.
However just because you have a one character story doesn’t mean they can’t interact with other characters. Yes there is a loop hole to having one character without having a cast of characters. To do this you can have your one character have a flashback or interact with an animal.
If you liked this blog post and you want to see more content involving my work in progress During the Blue Hour Follow , Like , share . But first LET’S START A DIALOGUE
Have you ever read or tried to write a story with only one character?
I want to know so let me know in the comments below.
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