Character Growth Versus Character Rot

How often do you find yourself looking for interesting characters in novels? We all look for something interesting to read… I assume you enjoy reading if you’re checking out a random blog such as this.

The best stories show character growth. There’s a plot somewhere in the heap of mess you’re reading and the character eventually becomes this sexy piece of nom nom at the end.

Characters are supposed to develop courage, discipline, hope, and/or skills. They should start off with little information until it builds and they’re ready to fight or love.

In other words, character development gives you a flawed person with a blank canvas. The objective of the writer is turn that canvas into a beautiful piece of art. The reader should eat up every word you write because overcoming the antagonist makes them happy.

But there’s a problem when you nom nom on too much of the same damn thing over and over again… It gets boring. Sure, it’s a good idea to make a character become a better person. But how many stories out there actually challenge that notion? When do characters grow evil, bad, ignorant, or spiteful? Only when they’re not the protagonist.

What is character development?
It is the way a character changes throughout a story.

Why do people focus more on character growth?
Beats the snot out of me. I think they want the story to give readers butterflies and cause them to poop daisies. The ultimate goal is to make the reader feel like an angel flapping it’s wings–heavenly.

What’s character rot?
My own creation [insert evil laugh]. It’s where characters don’t advance in a beneficial way. They turn bad, rude, or mean. Something occurs in their life where they stop “movin’ on up” and make a swift turn for the worse. Anyone thinking of Darth Vader besides me?

I guess I should start making characters turn evil because I’m tired of the good guy prevailing. I want to read an entire novel where the guy/gal under the evolution process doesn’t grow much. I want them to become spiteful and dark. I want attitude and snap. Give me something to read!

Oh yea… Authors can’t do that because people expect the ending to go a certain way.

Fictional publisher’s advice I created for the sake of sounding like I know what I’m talking about: Deviate from the norm and reviews will go against you. No one wants to read about a character they don’t like.

Pluhlease (that’s right, there’s an extra syllable there). Stop worrying about reviews and making your readers happy. Just write a good story!

Why do authors continue writing crap about likeable characters? Why do reviewers constantly bash an author when they don’t like the protagonist’s attitude or ignorance?
No clue.

There are people out there that don’t like you… I’m sure of it. There are definitely people that hate me–the evil dictator of my own story. And I make for a better read than these gleeful wimps in Fantasy stories that always prevail through evil.


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