Monday, September 20, 2010
How does your character grow?
People read stories to be taken away from their life for a while and see other people overcome things. They want to see a character do something amazing or entertaining. However, most readers don’t merely want to read the last few chapters to know the climax, they want to read about the journey it took to get there. Stories are written about people doing things in the final chapter that they couldn’t do in the first one, for whatever reason. Each story tells about a journey taken because it had to be but rarely is the character the same when they finish as when they began. Think of your favorite books or movies, think about how each one was about a character finding the courage or the facts to face a giant of some sort, whether it be the ability to face the future as a child becomes an adult or the courage to face a fear or stand up to a bully or evil person. In each case the character refused to face that giant in the beginning of the story for some reason. Something forced them to try and later something made them resolved to win. Does your story have that same character growth or is the reader going to read it and realize that the beginning and the climax were cool but there just wasn’t any reason to read it again, no reason for them to cheer for the character. Very few stories can work without showing the reader the struggle the character is having and making your reader long for victory. While your story may be one of the few that don’t need character growth, I’d recommend making sure the reader won’t be left wondering why they just bothered to read that.