Dating Your Character

A Sexy Guide to TV and Screenwriting

by Marilyn Atlas, Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein, and Elizabeth Lopez

From the Introduction:

Dating Your Character: A Sexy Guide to Screenwriting for Film and TV, is based on the principle that interesting characters actually are co-creators in the writing process.

It’s organized into some of the standard stages in an evolving, romantic relationship, launched by a couple of chapters that encourage you to take some personal inventory:

  • – Casting Your Ideal Character
  • – The Meet Cute
  • – The First Date
  • – Serious Dating
  • – Moving In Together
  • – The First Fight
  • – Making A Commitment
  • – Hitched Or Ditched

On the way to a kind of trust and growing intimacy, the structure of the book traces the first flush of excitement, any awkward hiccups in communication, and the recognition and reconciliation of your different POVs.

Most books approach character development using a winnowing process involving general categorization and list-making. But, not much in the way of a truly in-depth synthesis of the collage of “facts” in the character’s biography.

The DYC method doesn’t start from the outside in. It doesn’t layer physical descriptions onto archetypal outlines, then color in the flaws and motivation to make that thumbnail sketch more personal.

DYC focuses on the importance of the individuality of characters: their eccentricity, drive, and relative “basis in fact” – inspired in part by people you know or you yourself.


Trade Paperback
Stairway Press

What others are saying about Dating Your Character

Dating Your Character is a must for any writer who wants to create 3-dimensional, interesting, non-stereotypical characters that jump off the page!”

    – Mary Lou Belli, Emmy award-winning TV director of The Game, NCIS New Orleans, Monk and Author of The NEW Sitcom Career Book

“The authors offer every writer - beginner or seasoned, of screenplays, novels, games, or plays - a fun new approach to character creation. Designed with the breezy, can-do attitude of a self-help book, DYC offers practical advice on how to create a passionate, workable and working relationship with your characters.”

    – Pamela Jaye Smith, Author of Show Me the Love! All Kinds of Love for All Kinds of Stories

“Having had some experience with characters and a lot of experience with dating, I can say that dating your character is a better bet.”

    – Ellen Sandler, Co-EP of Everybody Loves Raymond, Author of The TV Writer’s Workbook

“The exercises here help writers become familiar with an actor's perspective, so your characters come across as living, breathing, authentic people.”

    – Josefina Lopez, Screenwriter of Real Women Have Curves, Author of Hungry Woman in Paris

“The best writers manage to let their characters fully imprint themselves on the writing process, leaning back and starting to trust their lead.”

    – Leslie Conliffe, Agent at Intellectual Property Group

DYC is a great way to create meaningful characters that you can spend the night with and who will still love you in the morning!  Required reading.”

    – Jennie Lew Tugend, Producer of Free Willy, Lethal Weapon, Return to Me

“When I'm writing a script, I never leave my characters alone for more than a half day, otherwise they may get their own ideas and run off! For anyone seriously interested in character development, Dating Your Character has great exercises, examples and ultimately, inspires the creation of your beloved paper person.”

    – Elisa Bell, Screenwriter of Little Black Book, Vegas Vacation