Saturday, August 11, 2018

Character Development and Why It’s So Important

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By Sarah K. 

Character development is like starting with a basic stick figure and making them believable, making them grow throughout the story. Before an author gets too deep in the story, they will usually describe what the character looks like so the audience recognizes them, things they are good at and things they are bad at, who their friends are (or maybe they dont have friends yet, they will meet them later in the story), that kind of stuff. 
In fiction -- books, short(ish) stories, and pretty much any work of fiction, characters are one of the main focuses, but what makes them so interesting? What makes them so human? Character development, of course! The audience wants to relate to the main character, because that character is the one telling the story, a good character plus good development help the audience do that. 
Pretend youre reading a book, and there is a sarcastic character. Shes very sarcastic, cold, and  shows little to no emotion, she has people she calls friends, but she doesnt treat them very well, shes never there for them when they need her, even if she could be there.  Shes good at lots of things, but not bad at much. Shes not balanced and doesnt act human.  But its only the beginning of the book. 
After youve been reading this book for a while, the character should be getting better, shes had tons of moments where you think Yes! Shes going somewhere!, but you keep going and BAM! Shes back to where she started. 
Now, pretend you are reading another book. There is a character, she is brave, bold, loud, a bit selfish, loyal to those she cares about, stubborn, and a little too proud.  Like before, its only the beginning of the book, theres room for improvement, and hopefully the author will do something good with this character. 
Again, after you have been reading this book for a while, shes got her moment! Her friends need help, she puts her selfishness aside, and does what she has to do, but maybe its a little more than she can handle. She puts her pride aside to ask for help, so that she wont let down her friends when they need her most. She grew and learned, she developed and you begin to like her more because she is believable. 
Not all characters need to be developed though.  More minor characters will have skills to help the story and main characters along. These character being extremely developed isnt quite as necessary (and at times, it would be a waste, these are the backgrounders!) as it would be for the main characters. Having every single character be super developed might make it feel like everyone is a main part of the story, in a sense, it would get too crowded.  

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