Every Monday, MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR focuses on the art and craft of writing, from Shannon’s perspective or that of guest authors. To catch up on all posts, check out the MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR portion of the website! This week features her thoughts on whether character growth and change is necessary.
Something I was taught early on in writing was the “character arc” and the character’s need for growth and change. Because I prefer to focus on character, focusing on a character arc like this often happens in my writing. Then I got to thinking about series, such as a mystery series, that showcases a main character whose appeal with the readership lies in the fact that the audience knows and loves the character and the personality as a constant is part of the appeal.
At first glance, this seems to defy everything I was taught.
The reality is that even these type of series, especially if they are long-running, ultimately contain some form of character change. It’s just that the character evolution moves at a slower, drawn-out pace. If nothing else, the adventures of book after book and the knowledge learned from those experiences then informs how the character reacts to later books.
So, from my perspective, it’s really not a matter of “does a character need to change” but, rather, at what speed that change occurs.
Until next time!