Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall & change

Nowhere is change more evident than in the fall season. Personally, the honking of Canada geese as they v-formation their way south has always made me melancholy, while other signs of fall might be more welcome: gorgeous carmine and tangerine leaves, cool relief from summer heat, maybe even the promise of winter sports. But whether you like it or not, the season will change.

Approach your characters the same way. Over the course of a story, the protagonist's experiences will change his or her perspective, ideals, thoughts, beliefs, personality, etc. to some degree. Maybe it's something as simple as Edward discovering he can, after all, deliver a speech inf ront of the whole school. Or it could be as serious as Jess realizing she needs to let herself grieve for her mother. Whatever it is, your protagonist must change, someway, somehow.

Why? Because that's the whole reason you wrote your book.

Before you start pelting PM with rotten tomatoes for my presumptuous assumptions, let's work through this backward. The reason you wrote your book, the reason you write, is because you have something to say. A story to tell. A voice that won't get out of your head.

I believe a story is written to show to the world some kernel of truth you found, some irrefutable discovery that changes -- note the word -- the way you think, or feel, or perceive. And what other way to impart that feeling to your reader than through your own protagonist? To influence your reader, influence your character. And maybe we'll all experience something new.


  1. Exactly. If there's no growth, there's no journey. Well said, Yahong.

  2. That's a wonderful way to look at it. Even if you don't realize it at first, you're imparting some kind of message through your characters, words, the story.

  3. My cleverness quotient went up after reading this wonderful post. Thanks, Yahong!

  4. I believe your characters should show some change, yes. Good post.

  5. Well said. I think that just reflecting for a moment about a character's experiences can help to create the difference between boring and memorable!

  6. This is an inspiring post! I love fall and it's a great time for change in more than just writing!

  7. Yahong, fall is my favorite season and it gives me new hope for myself and for my characters. We all grow and change, as do our characters. After all, who wants to read about the same old person all the time? ;)

  8. We all need to be reminded of this. Our characters need to change or readers may get bored. Great post!

  9. Matt -- that's exactly what I was trying to say! :)

    Laura -- yes, you're leaving the reader with the reason why you wrote your story. :)

    Mike GG -- pleased I could help!

    Mike W -- glad you agree. :)

    Tony -- introspection is definitely a part of change!

    Hilary -- new hope -- that's just perfect. Growing and changing and molting, yes?

    Marsha -- and of course we wouold never make our characters bored. ;)


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!