On The Happiness Project blog, Gretchen Rubin writes that the talented actress/comedian/writer, Mindy Kaling, keeps this character “voice checklist” in her writer’s room, so she can refer to it when she’s writing:
Characters are helpful and kind.
No one is a moron.
Characters are polite.
Conflict should never come from a desire to be cruel or mean.
Do not fear nuance. Comedy from avoiding conflict, not instigating it.
Characters don’t have to be maxed out to be funny.
I love this list, because when it comes to comedy, it’s SO easy to go from being funny to being mean. When you start with these guidelines, it challenges you to create a better, smarter story– the kind of story you can be proud of, and not the kind of story that makes you cringe.
Check out the rest of Rubin’s blog post here.