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How Many Characters Should Develop/Grow/Change?

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Old 08-02-2018, 08:35 AM
DwayneA (Offline)
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Default How Many Characters Should Develop/Grow/Change?


Put simply, how many of your characters in a story other than the protagonist should grow and change? What about the other characters? Should they stay the same throughout the story? How many characters in the story should actually be developed throughout the story?

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Old 08-02-2018, 10:39 AM
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Are you talking about a novel?
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Old 08-02-2018, 10:53 AM
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yes
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:00 PM
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Well, certainly your main character if the Hero’s Journey is anything to go by. Other than that it’s entirely up to you. Too much change weakens your characterisations so I’d be wary of overdoing it.
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Old 08-02-2018, 03:34 PM
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the protagonist definitely needs to grow and change in this story I am planning. Other than that, other characters I have planned for this story are:

The heroine, his love interest, the princess of a kingdom in the alternate world.
Her older sister who is chosen as the heir to the throne.
Her older half-sister who is a minor antagonist plotting to seize the throne by allying with someone from the enemy force holding the kingdom hostage
Her father, the king
Her mother, the queen
A powerful wizard who becomes her mentor
His brother, a fallen knight turned dark wizard who founded and leads the enemy force holding her kingdom hostage together with the rest of the world.
The secondary hero, a member of the rebellion who is great grandson to two heroes who fought alongside the protagonist's great grandfather in a great war in this world
The secondary heroine, whose family was inadvertantly responsible for releasing the dark wizard, who also turns out to be the protagonist's half-sister and falls in love with the secondary hero
Her twin brother
Her father, who is revealed as the protagonist's father
An amnesiac man who is ultimately revealed to be the most powerful and feared wizard the world had ever known and the father to both the other wizards mentioned above

Other characters include:

The protagonist's grandfather
The protagonist's grandmother
The protagonist's uncle
The protagonist's cousin
Other relatives of the protagonist
Certain members of the enemy force, some loyal, some defects joining the rebellion
Other members of the rebellion
A former Vietnam war comrade of the grandfather who leads a squad of killers to exact revenge against him by murdering his family and killing him.
A veteran police officer sympathetic to the protagonist
A veteran police officer not at all sympathetic to the protagonist
The spirit of a misanthropic wizard who is the grandfather of the feared dark wizard
The spirit of his wife
The spirit of their daughter, the dark wizard's mother
The spirit of their son-in-law, the dark wizard's father
The former friends and former girlfriend of the protagonist

What I'm trying to decide is which of these characters should receive the most development and growth.
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Old 08-02-2018, 09:01 PM
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Quite an epic by the sound of it. Another factor is time span of course. A story told over a longer time will necessarily involve more character development. It’s really up to your skill as a writer to show that change. If you have room for it then give it a go.

I’d say development is more important the closer the character is to the main narrative and the more they need to “grow”. But keep it simple or you’ll end up with a huge muddle.
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Old 08-04-2018, 04:07 PM
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But what exactly defines character development? Growth? Change? Other than the protagonist, which characters should also overcome their flaws during the story? Can a character grow and develop even if they do not overcome their flaw? How do you decide whether or not a character needs to grow or change during the story and which characters need to stay the same?
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Old 08-04-2018, 06:33 PM
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You’re asking how long is a piece of string. There are no hard and fast rules about this, it’s up to you.

Whose story are you telling? Why are you telling it?
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Old 08-04-2018, 08:54 PM
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What do you mean by "whose story is it?"
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Old 08-04-2018, 08:57 PM
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Who is it about?
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Old 08-04-2018, 09:19 PM
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The protagonist.
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Old 08-04-2018, 10:06 PM
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Never mind. Good luck with your story.
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Old 08-04-2018, 10:33 PM
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but if it's the protagonist's story, shouldn't other characters grow, develop, and change as well?

For example, the heroine, the secondary hero, and the secondary heroine? His love interest, closest friend, and half-sibling respectively in that order. Shouldn't they be important enough to grow, develop, and change? To me, characters that do not grow, develop, or change are not interesting. In fact, to me, characters that do not do all three are not interesting. Maybe its just me having high standards. To me, an interesting character is one who grows, changes, develops, and ends up saving the world.
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Old 08-05-2018, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by DwayneA View Post
but if it's the protagonist's story, shouldn't other characters grow, develop, and change as well?

For example, the heroine, the secondary hero, and the secondary heroine? His love interest, closest friend, and half-sibling respectively in that order. Shouldn't they be important enough to grow, develop, and change? To me, characters that do not grow, develop, or change are not interesting. In fact, to me, characters that do not do all three are not interesting. Maybe its just me having high standards. To me, an interesting character is one who grows, changes, develops, and ends up saving the world.


Is the story about a hero, or a group of heroís such as the X-men, or the Avengers?
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Old 08-05-2018, 08:55 AM
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no
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Old 08-05-2018, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DwayneA View Post
no


Then itís probably going to suck....

But I donít think you really understand the question I asked.

I think I recommended reading The Heroís Journey by Joseph Campbell to you. Maybe it was someone else.

When writing a saga like this story youíre proposing, itís indispensable. At least, the general idea is. The heroís journey can take many forms: Star Wars, Jesus the Christ, Harry Potter, Ulysses (both Joyceís and the Greek mythology), the Matrix, Game of Thrones (Jon Snow), or whatever story you can wrap around it. Itís almost the only story people read (even if they donít know it).

You are asking the wrong question here!

Stop!!

Go back a few paces, and listen to the answers given.

I also wonder if you have an obsession with planning stories that donít get written. Maybe Iím wrong, but you havenít posted any examples of writing here ever. And... thatís okay, but we canít much help with theoretical suppositions.

Judging by your posts you can obviously make good sentences. We would be able to help more with examples of your prose.
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Old 08-05-2018, 01:03 PM
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At a writer's conference a few years ago, a publisher said to write as if all your readers are lazy and/or have severing learning impairments. Snow White had too many dwarfs, Smurf's village had too many Smurfs, and you really need to limit to whoever you can fit in the Mystery Machine... although I thought it was bullshit the way that Shaggy always got stuck with Scooby. Why can't Thelma get the stick out of her ass and walk the dog for a change? But I digress.
Most of your dynamic changes need to be limited to the main character. If you're talented, you can probably pull off a dynamic villain. Anymore than that you start to confuse the reader.
If you're looking to mix it up a little bit, consider the route of the Neo-Western, like the plot of Breaking Bad, where you have a guy who starts off good and gradually turns to pure evil. There aren't any good guys left in the end.
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Old 08-05-2018, 03:41 PM
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well I do have one such character planned in this story. He is the amnesiac man mentioned above who is ultimately revealed to be the most powerful and feared wizard the world had ever known. He starts off as one of the good guys, yet in the final quarter of the story, something happens that drives him over the edge and he transforms into a villainous character, but not of pure evil. He takes the place of the other villainous wizard as the primary antagonist that the protagonist has to stop.

In fact, the protagonist, his allies, and the enemy force actually join forces to combat this new evil as they have a common foe.

I actually have one thread on this forum dedicated to where I discuss this character. I have revealed certain details about him from his origins all the way down to his downfall.
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Old 08-05-2018, 09:47 PM
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In case anyone is wondering, the story I'm planning is for the third and final part of a game trilogy I am making. Once I am done with part 3, I intend to write a trilogy of books based on my creation using the same story. The previous two entries will be improved where needed when I write them.

The protagonist of part 3 is the great grandson of part 1 and 2's protagonist. Both main protagonist's in this trilogy have their flaws and their strengths.

The first protagonist, the hero of part 1 and 2, at the start he is an anti-social guy due to his lover being murdered by a powerful organization which they were both part of(where they both met). As a result, he shuns the company of other people, now believing in the worst of humanity. He is also a bit self-righteous as he believes he is morally superior to others due to his experiences. Since his lover's death, he has also turned to the bottle. Still, due to his imperfections, he has a strong sense of justice and an even stronger sense of right and wrong. As the story of part 1 progresses, he slowly comes to accept the company of others, seeing that there still some good people in this world and accepting that everyone has good and evil in all of them and that only they can choose who they are.

In part 2, despite how he has grown during part 1, he is still haunted by the death of his lover, his failure to save her, and by the fact that he was once part of an organization that killed her. As the story of part 2 progresses, he begins to fear what those who rely on him will think if they find out about his past and goes to great lengths to hide it. He also meets a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the woman he loved and he tries to ensure her safety. He meets new friends and makes new enemies. He discovers that his closest friend is now second-in command of the enemy force he is combatting and the war they fight on in opposite sides is further conflict in their relationship. Even when his past is ultimately revealed, the people don't care at all due to his deeds and how his actions have affected them all, and he finds it is a great burden lifted off his shoulders. During the story, he swears off drinking and atones for his failure to save his love. He ultimately is forced to part with the one thing he has left to remind him of his dead lover in order to save his own life during the pinnacle of the war. Even when he helps win the war, he falls into despair due to the death of his friend all while blaming himself for everything that has happened and attempts suicide, but is stopped. He uses a magical ring to communicate with the spirit of his lover in order to find closure and realizes he needs to move on. After returning home, in a final gesture of letting go of his memories of his lover, he returns her ashes to her family.
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:31 PM
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In the previous story I wrote, which was part 2 in the trilogy for the game, I had the following characters change and/or grow:

A former watchman from a neighboring kingdom, branded a coward, who rediscovers the meaning of true courage and even gives a lesson in bravery to his critics.

The captain of the guard who learns to let go of his pride and be a father as much as a soldier and leader, embracing what is left of his family while he still can.

His daughter, a city guard who redeems herself for previous failures to save those she cares for and wins the respect and admiration of her comrades and father.

An innkeeper's daughter who grows from a passive naive young woman who lost everything into a hardened warrior who rediscovers a renewed purpose.

An ancient wizard who accepts responsibility for the mistakes he made in his past and tries his best to atone for them rather than running away.

The protagonist's friend who eventually comes to realize that the cause he fought for was unjust as fights alongside his friend to redeem himself and atone for the atrocities he helped inflict.

The protagonist's mother who through her experiences in the war regains her passion for her job as a nurse.

Those are the most important and greatest changes in character other than the protagonist.

In part 3, the following characters deserve the most development:

The protagonist, a disgraced former rookie police officer who has nothing left to live for, but who ultimately discovers a renewed purpose and new reason to live, but is forced to overcome his fear of the dark when a new threat emerges to plunge the world into eternal darkness.

The heroine, the princess of a kingdom in the alternate world who seeks to escape her life in the castle and live her own life, making new friends, falling in love with the protagonist, fighting to free her people and homeland, uncovering treachery within her own family, and discovering her own destiny.

The secondary hero, who seeks to prove himself worthy of his great grandparents' legacy and win the admiration and respect of his family, including those in the royal family, by fighting alongside the protagonist against the enemy force, risking everything through a relationship with a woman from the kingdom suspected to be in league with the enemy. He ultimately realizes that he must make his own legacy and grows from a follower and fighter in the rebellion to a leader of not only his own destiny, but of others.

The secondary heroine, a young woman whose family was inadvertently responsible for unleashing the dark sorcerer who went on to found the enemy force holding the world hostage. To atone for her family's mistake, restore the family honor, and redeem her kingdom in the eyes of the rest of the world, she joins forces with the protagonist and ventures beyond her homeland, ultimately discovering that he is her half-brother, all while falling in love with a man who believes her kingdom is in league with the enemy.

The old wizard who feels partly to blame as he restored the kingdom to its former glory and it was one of the citizens responsible for unleashing his brother upon the world. He takes on the heroine as his new protege, though reluctantly as tragedy followed the last time he did which resulted in a great war that killed off much of his own kind. He also struggles to rebuild his relationship with his estranged father who has come back from exile in another world, and will ultimately get a chance to make things right for everything that went wrong in the world's past because of his actions.

An amnesiac man who is revealed to be father to both the wizard and dark sorcerer, a man hardened by years of hardship and mistreatment who finds one last chance to regain the respect he rightfully deserves, and regains all his memories, yet is driven over the edge into madness when he is betrayed by one of his sons, destroying his one last hope of acceptance.

I'm trying to determine in what ways these characters could grow and change, and what flaws they possess, and how they grow, change, and develop without becoming perfect in the end.
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