Passive character never write one.

Passive character

Passive character

You especially want to avoid a passive character as your protagonist or antagonist. This would be a sure fire flop.

The worst part of a passive character is that they are not involved in the story. The story happens to them, rather than them driving the story. Think about a bank robbery. Should the story revolve around a customer sitting on the floor, being told what do and complying with every instruction. Or should the story be told through the bank robbers eyes. Every action the bank robber takes drives the story forward.

A great story does not happen unless the character does something.

Think of the film Parasite for a moment. The son of the family is offered a job. He sees the family employing him as a tutor is very wealthy and decides to get his sister a job there. Then through deception and lies the entire family get jobs and start exploiting the wealthy family. This entire story would not take place if they were passive characters. The son gets the job, his sister gets a job and then sets up the driver, so her father can get a job. The father in turn sets up the house keeper to get his wife a job. Not a single passive character amongst them.

You can’t have a character become active after starting out passive. The audience will have already put them in the passive box. Look at Alien. Ripley didn’t become the main character for quiet a while into that film. But she was far from a passive character. She was instrumental in the quarantine situation. She was not the main character, but she was far from a passive character.

Here is a video that helps explain the concept and how stories avoid them.

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