Bloodline: Multi-dimensional Characters That Take the Prize

Bloodline: Multi-dimensional Characters That Take the Prize reviews why writing characters like those in the Netflix series Bloodline is important to good fiction.

Tonight my husband and I will watch the final episode of Netflix’s new series Bloodline. The 13 episode first season premiered on March 20th.

We aren’t usually ones to binge watch TV series. Well, I should clarify and explain that I would if my husband was more keen to do so. I’m not sure if that says more about my self-discipline (or lack thereof), or his, or the fact that, if I’m reading a good fiction book, I can’t put it down until I’ve finished it and that this trait has transitioned to my television watching habits. The availability of complete seasons or series, being streamed or on DVD, makes this a modern day option, doesn’t it?

Yesterday we watched an unheard of FOUR episodes. You’d have to know my husband to understand my disbelief. I don’t think he’s ever willingly subjected himself to four episodes of one series in one day. Granted, it was a Sunday and a bone chilling cold day at that, the type of day when you want to hibernate, sit on your bum and just veg, but mostly I think we watched so many episodes because this series is just so darned good.

What makes it good? The plot is good and offers lots of conflict and I don’t think it can be disputed that the very talented actors are well cast, but to me the realism of the characters themselves takes the prize.

There is nothing black and white about the characters in Bloodline. Though some of the characters are blacker or whiter than others, or perhaps better said darker or lighter shades of grey, I have felt varying degrees of sympathy, anger and understanding for the actions of each character. They’re all very human and like the rest of us, they’ve all made bad decisions that they’ve later come to regret. It’s probably safe to suggest that these bad decisions and the reactions of others to these decisions, drive the plot.

I’m not sure that I could break my observations and praise for the way the characters of this series have been written into a few bullet points, a how-to article on writing characters like in Bloodline, other than to stress the importance of creating multi-dimensional characters. If I could document step-by-step bullet points so that we could all crank out such excellent characters for our books that would be wonderful for all concerned – you, me, and all of our potential readers, but I think my best recommendation would be to watch this series and decide for yourself, if you agree with me, what pointers you can glean and transfer to your own writing projects.

In the meantime I’m counting the minutes until we watch the final episode tonight!

If you’ve seen the series and care to comment (no spoilers please), I’d be interested to know if you agree with me or not.

Photo credit: Pixabay