So I’m back from my Christmas trip to visit my brother and his family. My parents flew out, too, and we all had a grand time. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a houseful of little children with adorable dimples, devilish grins, and unexpected (though cute) things falling out of their mouths every minute.
Here’s an example of unexpectedness from my youngest nephew: “Windsey, Windsey, Windsey! (even the letter L sounds cute!) Can you pull my pants up?” I just don’t hear that everyday. The BF is perfectly capable of pulling up his own pants, and Jesse doesn’t wear pants, at least that I know of. He does slip into my closet every once in a while, and I have no idea what he does in there.
|This is not my nephew. It’s Justin Bieber, whom my niece looooooves. His pants need pulling up, too!|
Anyway, pants were pulled up, and later on when I became the nephew-designated sippy cup holder, I thought about character arcs. Yes, I know it’s weird, but I can’t turn off my writer brain, and said nephew was playing with a brand new Christmas present so quietly, my brain took over.
So there I was holding his sippy cup and thinking about character arcs. My character needs to have one. She needs to come into the story with her pants down (figuratively, of course), and come out of the story with her pants up. There needs to be some sort of change within her, some sort of growth. Now all I have to do is figure out a way to do this.
First, I probably need to show that she’s capable of change through memories, dialog, and things that are important to her. Jasmine (that’s my MC’s name) runs away from her problems because of a tramautic experience in her past. By the end of the story, I need to have her running towards her problems. So far, I’ve slipped a locket and a poster into the story that are both important because her sister gave them to her. That’s about it so far, but I’m hoping that these early clues about these items will help show the reader that her sister is important to Jasmine, which hopefully will help facilitate the change.
Second, an outside force should put pressure on the MC to make/help them change. According to Dynamic Characters by Nancy Kress, “… change is threatening to most people, and they won’t do it unless something drives them to it, usually pain or conflict” (201). Those would be all those boulders you throw in the way of your MC to make a good story. After all, a happy character is a boring character, in my humble opinion. Yay for me since I already know what outside forces and boulders I’ll be using!
I sure hope I can help Jasmine pull up her pants by the end of the story and make it realistic. The whole bending down thing, grasping the waistband, and pulling up isn’t as simple as it sounds.
So how about you? Can you pull your characters’ pants up?