Tag: character evolution

Why if your characters don’t evolve your novel is useless

Why if your characters don’t evolve your novel is useless

If you’re writing a novel, you’ll understand the most important aspect is the characters. And ensuring those characters keep people interested while they’re reading is vital. If your characters are doing the same thing, day in and day out, people are going to get bored quickly. This is why the evolution of characters in your writing is essential.

Think about those novels that you remember that you may have read 20 years ago. Why do you remember them? It’s the characters. And most likely, it’s because those characters underwent some sort of physical, emotional or psychological transformation. (Take a look at The Hero with a Thousand Faces of Joseph Campbell).

So, why if your characters don’t evolve your novel is useless?

The fact is, everyone changes

If you want people reading your book to relate to the characters, you want them to be as realistic as possible. Our lives are never mundane, and there’s no such thing as ordinary. Almost every year of our lives is filled with some type of change, and for some of us, it’s every month or week.

Couples, for example, meet for the first time, they start dating, get engaged and then married, they have children, then grandchildren – they may even get divorced. It’s a natural progression of life. Not only that, but we change jobs, we travel, and we do things in our lives that are significant. You want your characters to embody all of this as well.

So, what is change?

And how can you incorporate this into your characters? Change is anything that happens in life that is outside the “norm”. You can get up every day at the same time, shower, eat breakfast, get in the car or catch a train, and go to work at the same job you’ve been at for 10 years, doing the same job you’ve always done. That’s the norm.

But if you catch a train and all of sudden, you trip and fall and break your hand – that’s change. If you get to work and they’re holding a party for you because you’ve been promoted, that’s change.

How to plot change

You want to make the change believable and relatable to your character.

If your story is about a poor farmer girl in the 1800s who falls in love with a rich city boy, she probably shouldn’t grow fairy wings all of a sudden. Unless of course, that’s what your novel is all about.

But change for your characters should evolve slowly throughout the book. It’s best if you write down all the character changes before you start your novel – it will make more sense when you’re writing. Set the scene for each chapter and set expectations for what might happen.

Once you have the character features set, it’s time to shake it up a bit. Which part of the story could do with a bit more excitement? And how are you going to introduce that?

For example, you have a story about two young lovers in the 1900s, on a farm, and they’re standing having a conversation about the weather. Suddenly, a storm hits and floods the property, and the boy gets washed away. This changes everything (and opens the path for a pretty good story).

Use your own experiences

We understand why if your characters don’t evolve your novel is useless.

The best, and easiest, way to draw on change for your characters is to think about your own experiences or fears. For a simple example – if you’re afraid of spiders, your character could be also – and they could come face to face with a huge spider as part of the storyline. Think about what makes you tick and what impacted you when you were growing up – and use it as part of your character’s storyline.

Remember, you want the characters in your novel to be remembered forever. This means they need to create a psychological and emotional connection to the reader. By evolving, the characters in your story are more relatable – in life, we all evolve.

If you need help to do this, bibisco is a novel writing software that helps to turn your good ideas into a fantastic novel.

Why if your characters don't evolve your novel is useless. - bibisco architecture - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco architecture section

It can help you to create your characters and define where they’re headed within the story. Try it yourself today.