For Better, Worse, or the Same?

This concept just hit me one day, and it greatly affects my writer’s mind and the depth of my writing overall.

My focused realization of how situations affect characters and how characters affect situations, or at least, they should.

This is a great aspect for writers to, if you haven’t been already, make a point of focus and integrate as a permanent part of your writing process.

In thinking about character arcs and such, of course you realize that they stem from a particular event that changes something or some things about a character. Looking deeper into that, I realized that I should look at all encounters in that way, Major and Minor alike. How does my character affect the situation and how does the situation affect my character? That is, regardless of what I want as a writer and what I may have purposely plotted out.

Specifically looking at, after an event takes place, did my character make things better or did they make things worse for that plot line? Or did they have no effect at all? In reverse, did the situation make my character better or did it make them worse as a person? Or were they not effected at all?

Those are questions, I think, I’ve always been aware of subconsciously, but never really gave any deep thought to. You know, like how you know the sun is hot, but you rarely ever think about HOW the sun is hot? And now, I think, in giving these things deep thought, it will open up yet another dimension of depth for my characters as they journey through their stories.

If a character goes through a break up, in terms of how it affects them, did it make them better or worse as a person? Did the character’s reaction to the breakup make things better or worse for that overall plot line? Or was neither element effected at all? Which, the last bit, can lead to some very interesting musings itself as to why.

In a situation where a character stands up to their boss, it could make them better as a person, depending on the character, but it could also make things worse for them concerning the plot line because now, their boss is out for payback. At a different angle, depending on how the character stands up to their boss, it could make them worse as a person, but make things better for them plot line wise because now their boss is too scared to cross them.

It really all depends on a characters actions and how they react to things, and now, I like being more aware of how various interactions will affect my characters and their worlds.

  1. Are they getting better or are they getting worse, as a person, on their journey? And how? Or are they staying the same?
  2. Are they making things better or are they making things worse, for their story, along the way? And How? Or are they keeping things the same?

All very interesting questions to mull over. I’m sure I’ll start to see my characters in a different light. Understanding these things will help me get a better grasp of my character’s psyche and the temperament of the world around them.

What do you think?

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