Write Round Characters

Writing Tip: Write Round Characters
Novelist EM Forester used to teach about “flat” and “round” characters and the benefits of each. I don’t think he had radio commercials in mind, necessarily, but sometimes the situation isn’t what’s funny, but the characters themselves that drive the humor. They might be liars, pregnant mothers, mind readers, a kid wearing a “wire” and going undercover, or a man with one leg shorter than the other. Regardless, they surprise us.
Television sitcoms gives us a lot of good examples. There’s Kramer from Seinfeld, Frasier from Cheers, or more recently Monk, Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory or Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation. They’re great because they’re not flat, one dimensional characters, but interesting, quirky, people with funny idiosyncrasies. So many times it’s the characters that grab our attention rather the just the circumstance they find themselves in.
So when you’re brainstorming for ideas, don’t forget to focus on the characters themselves and make them surprising and memorable. And if you can combine a funny character with a funny situation, all the better.