As a writer crafts their piece from consciousness, the narrative only comes to life once the characters have been properly sculpted. Each character is etched with the finest detail, complex psychology and a believable persona. The work begins to come to life but detailed behavior alone cannot carry a narrative without character dynamics.
Every individual has their own persona, their own psychology, that drives them and their actions. While it is possible for a single character to carry an entire narrative, it is their actions and interactions with elements within the piece ultimately reveal how believable a character is. Whether internalizing against external forces or even internal conflict, it is the ability of the individual to react to a stimulus that allows an audience to perceive a character.
Utilizing external stimulus such as conflicts, events, weather, even other characters as a catalyst is a premiere means of exploring an individual's psychology.
Characters are the actors of a narrative, the living creations that a writer takes a possessive responsibility for in the piece. The quality of the acting is determined by the psychology of the actors. Are their motivations believable? Do they react to situations in manner? Are the convincing? Do they have a strong stage presence? As any director, a writer can know exactly who their stars will be for a piece and if their chosen talent doesn't match the vision that they had then the piece will never have the satisfaction or completion. It is that desire for the perfect vision that a writer's actors have to essentially live up to for the piece.
No amount of perfect premise or precision acting can save a piece from a director that demands their character act out of character. As in many instances a director will have a character develop a relationship, a love interest, for the sake of piece regardless whether it fits the piece or not. In many recent pieces, a strong character will develop a relationship with a an 'anti-character' (a character that is the complete opposite of the main character but not an antagonist) for no other purpose than to add a romance element to the piece. Even worse, some directors devalue their characters entirely by using casual sexual encounters to fill the 'romance' quota for their piece. While relationships can take many forms and all can help develop a piece, the director needs to take special care that they are building and not exploiting characters.
When a character has been well sculpted, detailed, and has been defined through their relationships with other characters, they become individuals. Individuals you can feel for, relate to and understand. Far too often writers craft strong characters, some even believable but the greats introduce us to individuals. Through those individuals it is no longer a story, it becomes a rolling journal. Individuals make it possible for an audience to fall for them, support them and when their relationships fail they feel their own hearts broken.
Are you creating characters? Or are you introducing us to new individuals?