1. ink_slinger
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    ink_slinger Member

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    Character Evolution

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ink_slinger, Jun 16, 2011.

    Here's what I'm struggling with right now.

    My character, whom I affectionately refer to as Izzie, has the Gift of Florence. In my universe, almost all humans have a Gift from a Saint that gives them a certain power, but the Gift of Florence is different. It is rare, and widely considered dangerous, as the Gifted is not in control of her gift (it is always a woman) and can be set off by emotion. While happiness in the Gifted may cause everyone around to feel giddy, or butterflies and flowers to spontaneously appear, anger can sometimes kill someone, occasionally the Gifted herself.

    Izzie has learned to avoid all emotion in order to prevent outbreaks, and she hides her Gift well, allowing others to think that she does not possess a powerful gift or is a late bloomer.

    However, as my book progresses, she learned to accept her Gift without fear and deal with her emotions in a healthy way, so that her secondary Gift can come forward.

    My question is, how can I show that evolution? What are some of your suggestions for gracefully, slowly working a character up to their final stage? I think this question might be helpful to others, which is why I didn't post it on the character workshop. Most main characters go through some sort of trial that turns them into the hero or heroine worthy of their task.

    So, how can I gracefully, without interrupting the flow of the plot, show that my character is growing as a person?
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Well it really depends on the specifics of your story. If there's something that makes her outraged -- some kind of injustice or oppression, perhaps -- maybe she starts off just lashing out at people around her and doing other things that immature people do when they get mad. But as she matures, she devotes the energy to actually fighting the evil and being productive, not just being bitter about it. (Likewise, if the emotion is being sad about someone dying, she could mature by using the Gift to do something good in honor of the person's memory; etc. The point is, as she matures, she channels her emotions into brave and important things and slowly becomes more and more of a leader)
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, the process of her growing as a person should be part of the plot, maybe even the main plot (hard to say, not knowing the story). I think the first decision you have to make is whether the change comes about slowly over time as a natural part of growth, comes about because of a determination on her part to change, or with the help of a mentor character (like Obi Wan in Star Wars). That decision will shape a lot of what you do in the story. Interesting idea.
     
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  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    ^ Ed brings up a good point: also, a change can occur due to one shattering event, too.
     
  5. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    I totally agree. I grow my characters through events. Give them choices to make which ultimately affects their nature and personality. In addition, these events keep the reader hooked and wanting know things like why did the event happen and what is next?.

    Romance and friendship sometimes helps. If the character finds their sole mate and their partner will have a big influence on their nature and personality. Even a death of a family member will affect them.

    In short, use what ever has influenced your growth in real life, in what you write.
    I hope this helps. Have your character grow through pain, love and every thing else that is life.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, but rarely the kind of fundamental change the OP is contemplating, which is more growth than change of course.
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    A huge event can make someone grow or see things differently, too. I'm not talking solely about a change in course of the plot.

    I'll give it to you that it usually is a more gradual process, though.
     
  8. ink_slinger
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    ink_slinger Member

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    I agree completely. She blows up at one point, and runs away, and while she's running she changes. I suppose what I meant was how could I show that she is changing/has changed without seeming didactic. I don't want to have to spell it out for the reader. "And because of all the things that happened, Izzie became a better person and helped those around her, and they lived happily ever after," you know what I mean?
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I do.

    "And while she's running, she changes..."

    Are we talking instant change (a la Forrest Gump) or over time? Assuming it's over time, you can show her changes occuring in stages, and by showing that, you don't have to tell the reader anything. They'll draw their own conclusions. And if it is sudden, then you show it by having her struggle with her emotions briefly, intensely, when faced with a very similar situation, and then reacting in a very different manner. If, while she's on the run, she has or acquires a mentor, then the mentor can explain how and why she has to change. Your instinct of not wanting to tell the reader directly through narration why she is changing is an excellent one - show, don't tell.
     
  10. afrodite7
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    afrodite7 Senior Member

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    - i say let her have a few slip ups.i mean,how else can she learn the potential of her powers and how to control it if she doesn't make mistakes?also,certain events afeect her in certain ways.example:she gets angry at her friend and this friend ends up in a hospital.this can make her actively seek out a way to vent her anger or control it safely.
     

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