Disaster and Character Development

I noticed a plane flying low into the local airport and, as I am wont to do, started thinking of the disaster story I could weave around that plane. That got me thinking about how any characters in my story might respond, and that got me thinking about whether I really need a disaster to fully develop my characters. It occurred to me that a poke is as good as a punch to get my characters to change, learn, and grow if I write it correctly. I suddenly realized why some novels and movies bore me – it isn’t despite any pyrotechnics in the plot, it’s because of them. If the plot is pushed along so quickly that the character doesn’t have time to respond, if the disasters are piled one on top of the other and the character seems to skate effortlessly through them, then I feel less tension, not more. So, on my next pass through my stories, I intend to look for evidence that the character is adapting to this particular situation in a way that will make the final resolution satisfying to the reader. I’ll write a disaster scene if that’s what’s needed, but I’ll look for simpler obstacles – on the order of a paper cut – if I can make that work.

Luck and wisdom!

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One Response to “Disaster and Character Development”

  1. LTodd Says:

    Good tips. Thanks. I need all the tips I can gather. Not sure what I’ll do when my basket is full. Maybe then I’ll have to actually write something.

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