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 Characters can change, but make it credible

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Jae Baeli
Jae Baeli

Number of posts : 103
Age : 56
JOB/HOBBIES : Author, Editor, Artist, Webmaster, Singer-Songwriter
FAVORITE AUTHORS : Dean Koontz, Jeff Lindsey, Laramie Dunaway,Darian North, Richard Dawkins, Raymond Obstfeld
GENRES IN WHICH I WRITE : Novels, Stories, Technical, Business, Academic, Scientific, Copy, Scripts, Journalism, Memoir, Humor, Essay, Blog, Reviews, Poetry, Lyrics
Registration date : 2008-11-22

PostSubject: Characters can change, but make it credible   Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:43 pm

There are other myriad considerations about the behavior of characters. I will just mention a few points....

One of them has to do with the psychology of characters. For instance, the villains. There's a hair-thin line between creating sympathy for a character and creating understanding, while still loathing them. I was worried about that one in my book Also%20Known%20as%20DNAhttp://jaebaeli.com/AKADNA.shtml]Also Known as DNA[/url]. I wanted to show a theme throughout the story--how everyone can have bad parents and some people will deal with it well, and some people will become psychos, and this result depends on what's organically/ psychologically in place in that person, to begin with.

I don't want to excuse the bad behavior--but I do still explain how, if they were already unstable--experiences can be responded to understandably, but still in a messed up way --(in Character A) or the experiences distorted until the lie becomes the truth in their minds (in character B).

Kahlil Gibran said, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” My friend Emily C Jones said, "the rest of the quote is And the remaining 98% of sufferers are either dead or traumatized - hard to tell which is which from the massive amounts of scarring."

Fair enough.

Another thing you must avoid is applying an unexpected behavior to a character, where there is no antecedent for that behavior. All of us have our moments when we might act out of character, but rarely do we do things completely unpredictable, unless we have D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder) or if we are pushed to a breaking point. And if you're going to depict a character acting in a way that isn't consistent with what you've set up, then there better be a compelling and credible reason for it. Such as a head injury, or a series of repeated traumatic events that push them over the edge. (The movie, Falling Down, with Michael Douglas, comes to mind). A reader won't usually forgive you for pulling those stunts, and besides, the goal is to better your craft, not find an easy way out of a scene.

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