expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>
Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

5 Ways to Show Character Growth

*Special Announcement!!!* Jolly Fish Press just picked it my crime drama novel! Entitled The Botanist, it's slated for release Spring 2014. Here's the Press Release! :D Yea!

Also, my blog post, Medieval Tidbit 4, was featured on From The Inside Looking Out. (*Squee!*) :D

Okay, moving on...

When writing fiction, characters are important. Just a little bit. (Duh!) So how do we create memorable characters? There are many ways: give them flaws. Make them relatable. Make them passionate. But I'd like to focus on one that is particularly important and doesn't get a lot of attention: MAKE THEM GROW!

If the audience can see how a character has grown and changed over the course of a story, they will love the character more and be more likely to remember them!

So how do we show character growth? The character must always go from a position of weakness to a position of strength. There are many areas in which you can do this.

Photo Credit: liveagl.com
1) Physical -- If they start out weak, they should end strong. (Rocky!) If they start out wimpy, they should end up with awesome fighting skills. (The Karate Kid!

2) Emotional--If they start out unbalanced, they should end up healthy (Kiera Knightly in A Dangerous Method) If they are lonely at the beginning, they should find love by the end (every chick flick EVER) If they are introverted at first, they should open up to someone before the end. Etc.

3) Political Power--Pretty obvious here. Position of no power to position of power. (Julius Caesar, J. Edgar, etc.)

4) Social Skills or Standing--this can be standing in the community or church (Thornbirds), social relationships, or social mobility in bygone eras (Vanity Fair)

Photo Credit: trailers.apple.com
5) Other Types of Power--this could mean any miscellaneous kind of power indigenous to your story's world. (i.e. Batman Begins' Batman powers and tech, Wheel of Time's wielding of the one power, Harry Potter's wizardry)

Keep in mind that if you're writing horror or tragedy, these things can be used in reverse. Start your character in a state of happiness or sanity and move them to tragedy or madness. Start them out happy and then end with them in horror. 

Of course, not every character has to go through everyone one of these types of changes in every story. That would be overkill. But, make sure your MC goes through at least one of these. With your MC, you can often put them through several. Your secondary characters should go through at least one as well.

This will make your characters more memorable and help readers connect with them on a deeper level.

What do you think? What changes does the MC you're reading or writing about go through?

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)

Don't know what this is? Click here.

Yesterday's RMQ was, "Sometimes I wonder, will God ever forgive us for what we've done to each other. Then I look around and realize, God left this place a long time ago." This was said by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Blood Diamond. His character's name was Danny Archer. No one guessed this one.

Today's RMQ:

Guy 1: "You grow fond of him. That is good."

Guy 2: "Do not play God with me...You are not my priest. You wouldn't be if I had one."

Guy 1: "That was bitter."

So this is obviously is a conversation between two people. Five points possible: one each for characters and actors that played them, and one for the film. Good luck!


  1. Thanks for such an interesting post. As characters are just as important to me as the plot (probably moreso actually) I appreciate good character development as being so important to a book.

  2. COngratulations Leisel on The Botanist being picked up. It sounds fascinating. I'll be watching for it with interest.

  3. Congratulations on your publishing contract!