Adding Emotional Intelligence To Your Characters

Crafting movie worthy characters requires screenwriters to imbue them with emotional intelligence. Basically this means characters must conceive a range of emotions and identify appropriate behavioral responses.

There are a variety of broad stages associated with emotional intelligence. Few characters lie exclusively within one of these stages all the time. Typically they progress as part of their emotional journeys, or relapse into a child like emotional state during trauma or stress.

As writers, use these stages to add dimension and complexity to your characters and really make your screenwriting stand out.

Emotional Awareness – The Main Types


Your character must actually be able to sense the under currents and character relationships of a story. The village idiot is oblivious to the emotional underpinnings of a scene to create conflict and comedy. Consider how such a character might answer when a woman asks how they look. Perhaps with brutal honesty while being oblivious to how their responses are perceived. Don’t fall into the trap of creating caricatures with these characters who simply can’t conceptualize their responses might be inappropriate. A lack of awareness is attributed to a child like ego state which relies on satisfying immediate needs and desires without consideration of consequences.


This is a matter of comprehending and processing an emotional state. It is a step up from the awareness stage because the character is forced to confront an unfamiliar situation such as the death of a loved one or falling in love for the first time. Such characters must identify, process and understand their feelings.  An increased perception is associated with a transition to an adolescent ego state. Actions and emotional responses are more tightly bound to social and communal interactions and have consequences. Moreover, it demonstrates character growth.


This relates to the highest ego state. A child will blurt out exactly what they think without a filter for diplomacy or tact. An adult will hopefully have a mechanism in place for knowing for identifying emotions are appropriate in different situations. A developmentally mismatched level of maturity can create interesting and comical characters, such as a middle aged CEO who cries when he doesn’t get his own way, or the child who can cuts through grown up emotional clutter with simple. logical and effective words. Emotional maturity is borne from life experience and such characters are highly aware of their nurturing and leadership roles.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. benjaminky says:

    Emotional Intelligence is the best. I Need

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