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 Shannon’s thoughts on how a character’s unresolved issues can define them.
Authors set up details about characters so that the readers get to know about them for the story. Most of the time their backstories involve concrete details that sculpt them for the reader. However, there may be parts of the character that aren’t so neatly cleaned up. These are stories that rely on inner conflict of character, sometimes in concert with external conflict, and sometimes not.
The main character’s lingering doubts, feelings of failure, and similar things can drive plot. Readers go along to follow the adventure, while often seeing the character find personal resolution as part of the story. That’s not to say there couldn’t be cases where a character’s unresolved issues continue on for story after story as part of their general motivation for doing what they do. We see it in mystery stories, as well as superhero ones, just to name a few examples.
Until next time!