1. Dr Guillotine
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    Dr Guillotine Member

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    Progression of the Main Character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Dr Guillotine, Aug 4, 2011.

    Would a story be taken seriously if there is only a slight change in the MC, before reverting back to their original behavior, at the end?

    Do all of your MCs shift perspectives in all of your stories?

    I know, ideally, you're supposed to make that happen, but, do you? Do you have another approach?

    And finally,

    Is it more interesting to have a protagonist change from bad to good or good to bad, for lack of a better term.

    This probably isn't too clear but it's something I've been thinking about for a few days.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think it is necessary to have the MC undergo a dramatic change in the story. Look, particularly, at a lot of top-selling, long-standing series on the shelves of the stores. A lot of the MCs stay more or less the same over time.
     
  3. Dr Guillotine
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    Dr Guillotine Member

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    Thanks I have been working on a story and this gave me problems. I've planned on a slight change for the character before reverting back to the way they originally were.

    I was curious to see if others would see this as a rip-off or a waste, or if it would be received positively.
     
  4. proserpine
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    proserpine Member

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    I think it depends entirely on your character developement, your plot, and what you consider a "change". If a change feels organic, great. It should serve a purpose and make sense. Otherwise, it would be confusing to have a character change without any explanation.
     
  5. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    There is a lot of grey areas between 'good' and 'bad'. If chars are anything like real people, they got to be in those grey areas. The line that divides the good and bad is blurry and chars, like people, often go back and forth intentionally or unintentionally. And those chars are often reffered to as 'rounded characters'. So, it'll be interesting to have a char who has a bad side and a good side.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    what steerpike said might be true but personally I dislike the ones where the characters doesn't change, at least in some way, it doesn't have to be as drastic as "from good to bad or vice versa" but at least give them a different view on things or different priorities or whatever. otherwise what was the purpose of the story? the ones that leaves the characters exactly the same as before seem quite unsatisfactory to me.
     
  7. Radrook
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    Radrook Contributing Member

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    Whether it is taken seriously or not depends on the audience. Some audiences are far more sophisticated than others. Some take any story that's full of violent physical activity very seriously and the last thing on their minds is whether the MC changes. I once read this Sci fi novel that had practically zero character description or development and change and was praised profusely by certain readers as the best story they had ever read. On the other hand there are readers who demand much more and will throw the book down in frustration after a chapter or two. The main thing is to write to please ourselves and to be true to our standards which should be based on what is considered excellent for the genre and the audience we are targeting.
     
  8. Dr Guillotine
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    Dr Guillotine Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone!

    Tesoro, I can see that point of view and I'm afraid of creating that kind of sentiment.

    In regards to a change, would it have to be a complete 180 turn to not be seen as a waste? Would a minimal change fit the bill?

    RadRook, I agree that we have to write to please ourselves and I'll remember that moving forward.

    This forum is great! I'm glad for the help
     
  9. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I think both good to bad and bad to good can be fascinating. What drives a character to reform or fall can be quite a good story arc is written well.
     
  10. The_NeverPen
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    The_NeverPen Member

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    I would just advise you to think of this character being resistant to change because of who (s)he is. If the story comes to a climax and they just shug, yawn and play with themselves, you've either created an irrelevant climax or a two-dimensional character. However, if there's a reason for the character to face change and reject it, then you've made a point about what kind of person they are. That can have a great effect on the reader.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think it is a big mistake to assume that readers who can like a story where there is little change in the MC are less sophisticated. Seems more like a conceit than an accurate assessment.
     
  12. jso7m3711
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    jso7m3711 Member

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    Good point Radrook. I think it also has to do with the tone or "moral" if you will of your story. If you want it to be a positive, uplifting ending, have the MC change for the better. If you want more sophisticated, or a bitter ending, changing for the worse would probably be best. A story, kind of like Waterland by Swift, revolving around the idea that things don't get better and life it pointless (which can be pulled off well on occasion) should probably see no change in the MC. Just my thoughts... best of luck :)
     

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