Monday, February 4, 2013

What I Will NEVER Learn

There is something my editor has written on all three of the manuscripts of mine she has edited thus far. 

"NO GROWTH!" (yes it always has an exclamation point attached).

This is usually 3/4 of they way through the manuscript and she is referring to the fact that my main character has not changed at all since page 1. 

See, I write snarky, angry, cynical characters and what she is telling me is that by 3/4's of the way through the book they need to be exhibiting some change. They need to be different than they were on page 1. Different for my characters usually equals better. They have lessons to learn and their actions and dialogue in the last 1/4th of the book needs to show they've learned them.


Change and growth in my characters is my Groundhog Day. See I know people read books to see the characters come to realizations, but when I'm writing I guess that flies out of my head.
You would think that I would have learned by now that characters need to change. That the things that happen to them over the course of the book help them become "better-people", or "happier" and all that crap, but I forget EVERY SINGLE TIME.

I think it's okay. That's what editors are for and maybe if I was thinking about the after for my character they wouldn't be as messed-up in the before. Their transformation wouldn't be as satisfying.
That is what I tell myself anyway, I just hope my editor won't get sick of writing those two words.

4 comments:

  1. Mine is metaphorical writing--my editors have ALL told me to pull back. Just call me Little Miss Metaphor...

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  2. Your post made me realize that I'd forgotten about growth in my own story too, so now I'm going to look back and see how my main character can "grow". Thanks for the advice!

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  3. Making growth and change an organic part of the character's journey is a challenge. So many challenges. Sigh.

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