Character Transformation

I hear and read a lot of good writing advice about the need for characters to transform in fiction.

The argument is that in order for a story to be interesting to a reader a character must transform from one state of being at the start of a story to another by the end. They must learn something, or have an epiphany, a moment of insight. It can be subtle, internal or external, but it is still there. It’s good advice but…

While I see the purpose of this I don’t think it needs to be the only model for writing interesting characters.

In real life people don’t change easily, even in the face of challenging circumstances. People often retreat further into themselves. They hold fast to bad habits and remain fixed in their personalities.

I find these kinds of characters interesting. They don’t learn, they don’t change. They refuse to budge. But it’s not all negative. People do their duty. They hold firm to their beliefs regardless of the consequences.

Human psychology shows that growth and change are very difficult and don’t always occur. It can often be years after an event that we realise it’s importance. People aren’t self aware. They have layers hidden, even from themselves.

I like to write and read about characters who don’t change. Moments where there is no realisation, no insight. People who are stuck and can’t fix things.

Maybe I’m strange…


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