The Frustrated Reader: Character Development: Beginning, Middle and End

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Instant fame, instant gratification and instant satisfaction are three terms the world is currently living by. In most cases this isn’t an issue, especially when it comes to internet connection. It becomes an issue when art is no longer done with passion but is only done for profit and/or bragging rights.

As an avid reader, I am deeply offended when I read a book an author threw together. Character development is the most important part of a book. It can make or break a story no matter how good the plot is. If a character is a whinny brat, finding out his grandmother is Jack the Ripper will be completely overlooked.

There is a beginning, middle and end to character development in each book. It isn’t something to be taken lightly i.e. giving the protagonist a backstory to explain why they have trust issues isn’t enough.

In the beginning, the protagonist needs to have a conflict; be in internal or external, there needs to be an issue the character must deal with. This conflict must test the character’s very existence and it has to grow as the story goes on. The conflict develops the character but that is only if the character is written in which the conflict truly affects everything they know. But this doesn’t only apply to the main character. The antagonist as well as other supporting characters need to be developed this way at various intensities. All characters within the story need to have a conflict that develops them.

In the middle, the protagonist, antagonist and all surrounding characters need to break out their shell. Once a conflict is established these characters need to do things they normally don’t do, which will ultimately cause them to grow into who they should be. A character cannot stay stagnate when there is things going on. It creates a dull story, it creates a boring book, and it creates a reader who just placed your book in the “did not finish” section.

If a reader has made it all the way to the end of the book, then all characters need to be in top shape. This makes or breaks a book and if the characters, especially the protagonist, is still the whinny brat they were in the beginning it isn’t going to work. At the end of the book, there needs to be some kind of comfortability within the characters. The conflict doesn’t need to be completely resolved but characters should have grown to a point where they are relatable to the reader. It doesn’t matter if the genre is fantasy, paranormal or contemporary, there needs some kind of connection with the reader and the characters.

Overall, character development is the most important part of a book. No matter how good the plot is, how well the setting is described, if your characters are lame the book will be lamer.





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