Nov 9, 2012
I Am Not What I Once Was
I know, I know. One of these days I need a photo that actually goes along with what I'm writing about. I'm lazy, though. I'm not going to waste my entire writing time wading through thousands (I may or may not literally have thousands) of photos. It's more of a, "Hey, this is pretty. *click click*" kind of deal.
Before I start, I'm assuming we all know the meaning of evolution. It's taught in schools and you hear about it everywhere. A change for the better. We all want things to be better.
In the simplest of evolutionary (or devolutionary) terms, do our characters change? Do certain events and life-happenings change them? For better or for worse? One thing I've realized lately is that my characters were different people when they were younger than they are now.
Probably something I should've picked up on before now, but my characters accuse me of not listening to them. I've noticed it dramatically in (quite hilariously, because I never noticed all their similarities till my writing partner pointed it out) a mother and son. They both went from some quiet, but relatively happy/cheerful people to taciturn people who've hidden themselves behind walls.
It goes without saying that things happened in their lives to cause that. I'll never forget the son's half sister (whom he hadn't really seen in years) going up to him and mentioning how she'd expected him to be louder. It threw in my head that the characters weren't always this way. People don't hide themselves away from the world without cause.
It's not always so cliche sounding as becoming a taciturn kind of person. It can be anything: An annoying brat being sobered, the poking and prodding of a girl who's bottled it up all the years to the point where one last poke will make her explode, or just someone who becomes frightened of losing the people closest to them.
Look at just your protagonist. They weren't always this person, were they? Hey, look at yourself. Think back to when you were younger. What awkward, weird person were you then? I hate even mentioning the person I was, sometimes. I look back and say, "That's not me," when in reality it was.
Have you ever been asked if you would do it over if you had the chance? It's stumper of a question, but I wouldn't. What's happened in the past has made me who I am. I don't want to change that. I don't want to lose that. I may be disappointed by my past actions, but it's who I am. What I'm made of.
Our characters are the same way. . .except, they might actually want to redo it.