1. CMastah
    Offline

    CMastah Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    43

    No character development?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by CMastah, Aug 27, 2015.

    I was in the process of writing my novel (finished it and did a bad job on it actually and realized (as per someone's suggestion) it makes a better outline so I know where the story is going and what mistakes not to make) when I realized that perhaps the best opportunity to flesh out the MC would be to show him as when he was a child. The wheels began to turn and I came up with an idea for a story in his youth (also, he's not human, his people are more akin to animals).

    The basic premise is that a baby gets kidnapped from his village (he's eight, two of his accompanying friends are also eight, an older slightly overbearing child is ten and his sister who was NOT supposed to have been brought but was brought anyway is two), and him and his friends rush to get the culprit (a fairy) and get the kid back. The boy was always intended to be brave and impetuous (and unwise), the other boy with him a bit of a crybaby, the girl his age for whom I don't have much description for other than 'not cowardly', the older girl overbearing but slightly wiser too (and the younger sister at age two is really of little consequence). Very basic personalities and I don't see room for growth at their age to be honest (also, aside from the older girl, they're all pretty impetuous). I'm avoiding dark themes like racism, betrayal, war, murder and child abuse (THOSE are coming in the stories afterwards, heheh). The crybaby is the only one I can see with some room for growth, the two girls (three technically if you include the two year old) are actually supposed to also be brave because the females of their species are naturally aggressive.

    My main question is, is it bad to write a story where the characters don't grow? Where they're going essentially on an adventure through old ruins and encountering fairies and other such? Is a lack of character development going to seriously harm the story?
     
  2. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Depends on your time frame and the experiences through which they travel.
     
  3. Inks
    Offline

    Inks Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    167
    People are defined by their experiences and particularly challenges which they have to overcome. It seems like you do not have a clear definition of the characters or their personalities. Do not stick everything in backstory, but the biggest changes in life are not always immediate reactions to a change of events or a new adventure. Something as simple as learning a new skill can result in a completely different sense of self, so it is simply unbelievable that they would not be altered in any way by such an adventure.
     
    Tesoro likes this.
  4. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,053
    Location:
    Denver
    What makes you think that going on this adventure means your characters won't grow?
     
    Tesoro likes this.
  5. Shattered Shields
    Offline

    Shattered Shields Gratsa!

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2015
    Messages:
    415
    Likes Received:
    272
    Location:
    Athagora
    From what I've heard and read, lack of character development is not good. Luckily for you, the journey your characters are going on has to affect them in some way, even in minute changes to their personalities would be something.
     
  6. Link the Writer
    Online

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,210
    Likes Received:
    4,220
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    I'm pretty sure that unless they were in a coma or stayed out of the adventures all together, they'd grow from this experience.
     
    Tesoro likes this.
  7. MilesTro
    Offline

    MilesTro Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,062
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Springfield
    I think your character will grow anywhere.
     
  8. Lyrical
    Offline

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    257
    My personal belief, and no doubt someone will think of an example that contradicts this point, is that there isn't much point to a story that doesn't involve some kind of change. However minute that change might be, it must come. This experience would be wasted if all it was consisted of "Oh dang, baby's gone. Let's go get it. Fight, Fight. Okay, we got the baby, let's go home. Shrug." Even if their view on life shifted by only one degree after all of this, it would lead to a big trajectory change later in life. A change, nonetheless.
     
    Tesoro likes this.
  9. Link the Writer
    Online

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,210
    Likes Received:
    4,220
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    ^ Pretty much. Even in a children's story where a kid learns the difference between a porpoise and a dolphin, there is character development. The kid starts off wholly ignorant of the difference and ends knowing the difference. For good or ill, the character(s) are a bit different at the end of the story than they were when they started out.
     
  10. Kallisto
    Offline

    Kallisto Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    87
    There are a lot of stories where characters have no character development. These are known as morality tales. The whole reason why the characters don't develop is because they don't represent real people. They represent an idea or a system of morals. You ever wonder why so many princesses are kidnaped and have to be rescued by a prince? Contrary to popular belief, it is not the lingering ideas of sexism and that they're prizes to be won. It's actually because they are not real, and not meant to be looked at as real. They're representative of kindness, love, compassion, empathy: In other words, the best of humanity. Meanwhile the villain is cruel, angry, evil, and odious. In other words, everything that is bad. The prince is courageous, often clever and good: everything we need to be if we hope to protect the good things. In reality, those tales are really about being brave and protecting the very best part of humanity, even if it means standing against bad odds. Think of that next time you read a fairytale. It completely changes the way you see it and may even start change you.

    So what does this have to do with your story? Well you're asking about not making a character grow, and that's pretty much the only way to do it and still be successful. The current expectation with story telling is that characters do act like real people, and they do learn, grow and develop. For this reason, it's very difficult to pull off a story where the characters don't learn and grow. Morality tales are just not well understood these days. But don't fret. Even if a character has a flaw, they some kind of potential for growth.

    Now, these are assuming you have expectations for your story. There is a third option and that is to aim your story at the lowest common denominator. Yes, there has been successful stories that do that, but there has also been a great deal of backlash to those who have. And for good reasons. These things where characters don't develop are often found in movies. In today's world people who read, tend to expect more than just brain candy in their books. They expect to have characters developed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  11. PeterBr
    Offline

    PeterBr Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2015
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm just getting a grasp on character development, but from my understanding, a story is driven by character development and plot. You can have more or one or the other (or equal amounts), but I think if you overlook character development entirely, your story will suffer. Character development is how you put your viewers into the scene by having them empathize with the characters. Otherwise you may have a great action story relying heavily on plot, but the reader may lose interest because they don't feel a connection to that plot. Does that make any sense?
     
  12. CMastah
    Offline

    CMastah Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    43
    Ah, I wasn't aware character development included knowledge (I assumed character development specifically talked about traits changing into other traits like cowardly to brave, and righteous to self serving for example), because in this case the kids are encountering fairies for the first time. Their village is extremely secluded and aside from the one human and the occasional passing dwarven traders, they've never seen anything else. Their journey will take them to a temple of a race that's long since been extinct that's inhabited by fairies and hags and other dark things and they'll be encountering all this for the first time. This journey shouldn't take them more than a day, but during which they'll be forced to try and forage in the ruins as well and learn what they can and shouldn't eat in there.

    @Kallisto , I intended it to be kind of like the first point you made, they're supposed to be the good guys going in and getting the baby back from the bad fairies/hag and helping out a few good fairies in the process (the kids are supposed to be pure of heart, even the cowardly crybaby was the only one to see the baby get kidnapped and he's the one who gets the others to go do something).
     
  13. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,053
    Location:
    Denver
    The most important rubric of character development is that at the end of the story the character should be able to do something they could not do at the beginning. Because it seems that none of your characters are prepared to rescue a baby from a kidnapper, I would say you've already written character development into the story.

    So no worries, just write it.
     
  14. Kallisto
    Offline

    Kallisto Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    87
    Well, that's the thing though. Morality tales are short works. Unless you're William Shakespeare or Plato, a morality tale shouldn't draw on too long. They're very to the point as they were often aimed towards children. They often have a certain structure to them that doesn't translate too well to longer pieces.

    Just look at the early Disney films in their princess genre. Cinderella, as great of a classic as it is, has some creative hiccups. That's because they were trying to translate a short, morality tale into a full-length feature and didn't quite know how to do it. It's still a fabulous movie, but it feels a little dated. Then look at Tangled. Tangled lost a lot of its roots as a morality tale, because the creators realized the flaws in the original Disney classics and more straight up adaptations. Tangled is still a fair adaptation, but it's not the morality tale that the origninal story was.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
  15. GuardianWynn
    Offline

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Messages:
    2,085
    Likes Received:
    671
    Not sure if anyone said this. Didn't read ever response but sometimes the character not changing is the point. If something challenged his core beliefs but the point is that at the end. His beliefs didn't change. That he is more or less the same person after the struggle. I think that is a valid approach that has lack of character growth as an example.
     
  16. Lyrical
    Offline

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    257
    As a reader, I would be terribly disappointed in a story where the characters were exactly the same as they were in the beginning.
     

Share This Page