Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Kind of Journey Are Your Characters On?

Yesterday, I cleaned up my spare room because I didn't have enough space for all my books. I bought two new bookshelves and basically had to reorganise the entire room. While I was digging away in a box, as I do, I found some notes from a few years ago when I went to a university lecture on Shakespeare's, The Tempest. As I read over them, I thought that it had some great advice regarding plot and character.

For your benefit, here are a few things that stood out to me:

1. There are different "journeys" that your character can take in your story.
- Physical Displacement - Going somewhere strange and destabilising
- Personal or Moral Growth - People benefiting and understanding how their life could be better, and improving themselves as a result.
- Circular Journey - The sense that all one does in life is about understanding oneself.

2. Characters
- It is important to know who the central character is and what is important to them.
- The central character must have their world disturbed.
- The antagonist should be pulling against the central idea and the struggle strengthens the main idea.

3. Audience
 - The reader must suspend their belief in order to go on a journey. The premise must be believable and engaging. The reader should have gained something as a result.
- Universal themes are appealing (love, relationships, friendship, etc).
- Using contemporary themes makes your story more relatable.

My story falls into the personal growth category. My MC, not to mention several other characters, goes through experiences which make a change in her life. She grows as a person, and this affects a lot of people around her.

Do you know what kind of journey your characters are on?


  1. Hi, Komal!

    Great post. My characters in the paranormal NaNo project are each taking one of the paths you mention. The hero must grow personally as he discovers his place in the world and takes the responsibility meant for his hands. The heroine, however, is having her stable, simple world ripped from under her as she confronts an entirely new realm. Fun...

    I'm learning so much about characterization as I go on. There's so much more to gain.

    Kudos to you for getting your spare room organized! And adding new bookshelves? Super! I could use a few ...but then I'd just fill them too full, ;}.

    Have a great Thanksgiving - if you celebrate. I seem to remember you saying you live in that correct?

  2. Yes, I live in Sydney, Australia. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving over here, but Happy Thanksgiving anyway!

  3. A combo path of personal growth and circular journey is what the MC my one WIP takes. That, and the fact that this story is vastly different from many I've written, so it's new and fun!

  4. Personal growth is definitely an important part of any character's journey.


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