This week the group explored the question of how to create empathy for a less than likeable or flawed character in a story.

An excerpt was read from the book titled “Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective”, by Leslie Thomas.

Chapter One:

This is the story of a man who became deeply concerned with the unsolved murder of a young girl, committed twenty-five years before.
He was a drunk, lost, laughed at and frequently baffled; poor attributes for a detective. But he was patient too, and dogged. He was called Dangerous Davies (because he was said to be harmless) and was known in the London police as ‘The Last Detective’ since he was never dispatched on any assignment unless it was very risky or there was no one else to send.


For additional reference we discussed a list of suggestions taken from a blog post on the website screencraft.org, titled 7 Ways Screenwriters Can Create Better Character Empathy.

Here is their list of possible ways to accomplish this for a flawed character:

  1. Mourning the loss of a loved one.
  2. Being the underdog.
  3. Being an animal lover or protector of innocence.
  4. Dealing with disease, addiction or other inner (and outer) struggles.
  5. Showcasing loyalty.
  6. Overcoming a fear.
  7. Being treated unjustly.


The prompt is to write an opening paragraph for a character who is not necessarily the hero type.