Characters Must Grow and Change
Characters are the focus of most novels. Here are two examples from well known authors that demonstrate important pats-on-the-back to characters that engage readers.
(1) Show what’s “on the line” in the character’s lives including risks, obstacles and needs for change.
In Distant Shore, Kristin Hannah wrote: In those days he’d promised her the moon and the stars, vowed to love her forever. He’d meant it too. Believed in it. They hadn’t done anything wrong, either of them. They simply hadn’t understood how long forever was. (p.118)
(2) Show growth across the story for secondary characters and their subplots
In Tony Hellerman’s Coyote West, the author suggests that “Sometimes we don’t solve anything, we just rearrange the mystery.”
Authors must give characters their pats-on-the-back before the final page. If we, as readers reach the end of the story and feel discontent, it’s one sign that the author may have missed the mark.
I’m always on the outlook for authors who are sensitive to their characters. Please comment and share the names of authors and their work that leave you feeling their characters HAVE grown and changed from the beginning of their story.