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So fewer characters is generally better in a short script, because it’s simpler and you don’t have time to develop too many characters. Make the characters interesting; make them vibrant. Don’t just have a janitor, have a janitor who has a complex about people looking down on their profession, and, as a result, acts defensively every time someone asks about their job. Don’t just have a soldier, have a vegetarian soldier to whom the idea of harming a plant is horrible. Don’t just have a schoolgirl, have a schoolgirl who is willing to do anything to get her way, so everyone else look out! However, try to avoid using horribly clichéd character types, especially ones that are clichés based on race or sex. It’s usually unnecessary and you risk offending someone.

If your script is going to be performed, it may help to think about who might play each of your characters. There are definitely roles that suit some people better than others. See if you can take advantage of this as you create the script.

When you create each character, you’ll need to know more about them than what they say in the play itself. You must have an image in your head of where the character lives, what they do, what their social and family status is, what their religious and political beliefs are, etc. What is their job? What drives them in life? What are their motivations and desires? Once you establish them, you’ll be better able to write their lines into the scenes in your script. Because of this background information you’ll know just how they would react in the situations in your script. By doing this strong character study beforehand, you’ll be able to let your character ‘come to life’ and react to the scenes and situations that you create.

Flawed characters are far more interesting than nice ones. Nice people are great to have as friends, but they generally don’t make for interesting characters in a play. Even if a character isn’t nasty, you want them to have flaws or weaknesses, or show emotional vulnerability.

Use your own experiences to help you write your characters, but remember that you’ve only lived part of one life, so inevitably you’re going to create characters who are fundamentally different to you and who will react differently to events than you would. In this case, you have to be able to visualise the character’s attitudes and emotions, and try and remove your personal influence. When you read the character’s dialogue, you want to react by saying, "That’s not what I would have said, but it’s exactly what I would have expected someone like so and so to say".