Amazing Kids! Magazine

Changing Seasons and Changing Characters

By Sophie Nadel, Writer’s Tips Editor

 

When you write a story, you are trying to make an impact on your reader. A great story has an intriguing plot, plenty of details, and realistic characters. One way to make your characters come to life is to incorporate change into your writing. People in reality learn from their mistakes, changing and growing as a result of facing obstacles. This is what it means to be human. Your characters should behave in the same way to maximize their impact on the reader. The more that readers can relate to characters, the more the readers will empathize and bond with them. Here are some tips you can use to help you incorporate character change in your next piece.

Obstacles

Every character has a want. The want is the reason for the story: It sends your character on some sort of journey during which he or she must overcome numerous obstacles. In the most interesting stories, the hurdles hindering your character will require him or her to think outside of the box, become stronger, or rethink something he or she thought she knew. For example, let’s say your character is after a tub of ice cream. Upon opening the freezer, she can’t find it. So, she scans all of the shelves before locating it. This story is pretty boring. The character did not learn anything or change her behavior at all to find the ice cream. If, on the other hand, she slipped on a puddle on the way into the kitchen and—after a slippery battle with the antagonist—resolved to be more careful when walking, then she learns, grows, and changes.

Keep It Realistic

Usually, it takes numerous obstacles for a person to change. A single conflict typically will not radically change the way in which your character views the world. Instead, each confrontation with evil contributes to teaching your character a lesson. For example, imagine your character loses his friends because he brags about himself too much. After losing the first friend, he probably would not yet be able to recognize his mistake. However, as the problem repeats itself, he will begin to notice a pattern and start to change his ways to win his friends back.

A crucial part of character change is the lesson it teaches your character. Because of that lesson, the change should stick with your character beyond the end of the story! The journey that your character takes and the resulting change is the moral of the story and will leave a memorable impact on the reader.

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