On Twitter the other day, someone was joking that, in the wake of Being Human, they now look at every new character in any TV show and ask themselves “werewolf, vampire or ghost?”
It’s an intriguing thought, especially when applied to Coronation Street! But actually, isn’t there something we can learn from this as writers?
As we all know, every fictional character needs a flaw. Perfect people are unconvincing, undramatic, and don’t generate interesting plots and conflicts in the way that characters with flaws and failings do.
And you could make the case that all character flaws fall into three categories: vampire, werewolf and ghost.
The vampires are self-obsessed. It’s all about them: their needs, their wants, their desires. They’re the characters who need to learn to care about others – everyone from the grizzled action hero who needs to learn to reconnect with humanity, to the work- obsessed dad who needs to value his family above his job.
The werewolves are decent people, but they’re at the mercy of their deepest desires. They’re the junkies, the alcoholics, the thieves and the people who can’t stop running their mouth. They’re the big flashy roles that stars are often drawn to, because they have a lot to overcome during the course of the film or series.
And lastly, the ghosts. The ghosts are haunted by the past. They have unfinished business, physical or (more likely) emotional, that they need to deal with during the course of the story. Their story will only be over when they learn to move on and live in the present, not the past.
So, is your hero a vampire, a werewolf or a ghost?