July 3, 2011

to be or not to be (character development)

To be or not to be, that is the question. - Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Oh, dear characters, why do you let me down? It's so odd that main characters do what main characters should not do. To me a main character is a hero, a Robin Hood if you will, a defender of the weak. I was very upset every time I started writing a book my main character was far from what I wanted him/her to be. So what was wrong with me?

As I started reading books and paying close attention to plots line, characters, and such I noticed a ground breaking thing. No character is born/introduced perfect. No character starts as the hero but develops into what he/she must become, like real people. As I thought this another thought entered my mind: It would ruin a book to just happen upon a perfect hero. Like opening a book in the middle and trying to understand it.

Characters need development, trials, and choices to make them who they are. I like to quote Shakespeare's famous saying, "To be or not to be, that is the question", when referring to characters choices. For "to be" will take them in one direction while "not to be" will, as well, change there live. And sometimes us writers don't even know what will happen one way or another. We, most of the time, are just along for the ride. So just keep in mind that it will not always appear the way you want it to, but it will become more clear in the end.

One thing to keep in mind thankfully is that God does not write stories like us. He has no plot issues, no character issues, and no second thoughts for He has written our story with care.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Yes, there is a difference between legendary characters and the people who populate a novel. It may have been that, at one time, at the beginning of a legend, the hero's story possessed description of his growth. But as time progresses those parts of the story are lost and all you are left with is the proverbial knight in shining armour: Horatius, King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, Robin Hood. But that's the nature of a legend.

We write novels, and, by and large, a good novel includes character growth. It's realistic, it's rewarding, it's engaging. Like Hamlet, they have to be brought to the watershed and made to decide this way or that; and the reader as well as your character understands that, either way, nothing will be the same again.

I appreciated your last comment. The more I look at the overarching scope of God's redemptive plan, the more I think, "It's a story. Duh."

Little wonder he is called the author and finisher of our faith.