Characters Change (and that’s good)

Think back to your old Literature classes from school, and try to remember what you used to talk about. Chances are, there was a discussion on characters and how they changed across the course of the book. Maybe they phrased it as, “What makes Harry a dynamic character?”

While this is something our teachers often brought up in school, it’s not something we always think about in terms of our own writing. Typically, we think about all the things external to our character, and how the MC will solve the Big Problem. We can spend so much time on it that we forget to think about how our characters change internally.

Why should you bother putting an internal change in your character? Well, it makes your characters more interesting. Reading about a brave hero who saves the world and stays the brave hero is fine, but reading about a coward who finds his courage? There’s a much more compelling narrative there.

If you’re looking to show some change in your MC, think about what makes them them. What are their strengths? Their flaws? Their fears? What motivates them? What internal factors stop them from reaching their goals? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can decide how you’re going to let them change and develop over the course of the story.

Of course, change isn’t always for the best. Some characters, especially villains, go through changes that leave them worse for wear. Sometimes, the change is from hopeful to cynical. Other times, it’s from brave to terrified. Either way, characters can lose parts of themselves and change to reflect their experiences.

Whether it’s for better or worse, let your characters change. They’ll thank you for it – and even if they don’t, it should make a good story.

One comment on “Characters Change (and that’s good)

  1. Some of my favourite characters are the ones where you get to see that change teetering on a knife edge. Will they become stronger or just jaded, do the best or worst thing? Because I’m invested in the character that makes compelling drama.

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