To Care, or To Discard

Characters. Protagonists. Antagonists. Heroines. Heroes.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I find it somewhat of a challenge to read a book, or watch a movie that involves characters that I hold no interest in. If I find there is no redeemable quality, or legitimate development, I tend to discard the book, or walk out of the movie. A character needs to undergo some sort of development, whether that be toward the positive or negative; or toward the better, or worse.

As a writer, this can be difficult. But you need to lay the groundwork first. What is the protagonist looking for? For what reason? What is learned along the way? What is gleaned? What is the resolution? Why, on earth, should a reader care? This is the ultimate question, right? I mean, for what reason other than gaining readership- and ultimately, and at times consequently, getting published- does one write? Certainly there are the catharses, the following of the path that correlates to one’s natural talents, the passions. But these are the practical reasons for writing. For example, it’s practical for me to write because I enjoy writing, it provides me with a sense of peace, and I believe I’m good at it.

The end result, though, is what we’re looking for. The pay off. The publication. And to get to that place, the characters you construct along the way need to be important to your readers. I need to like him, or her. I need to find him or her curious, interesting, mysterious. I need to care.

In the first novella I wrote, A Mindful Rendition, the protagonist’s development, while present, was difficult to grasp. Not because it was above the reader’s head, or vaguely existent, but because the character himself was a melange of Reasons to Hate, and Reasons to Love; and while I included most of the former, there were enough of the latter to retain my audience.

For this story, the character’s development is a bit more genuine. Alasdair’s development coincides with his journey, and vice versa. It is my job to make that development important to you, the reader. I want you to care about Alasdair. I want you to be interested. I want you to take part in the journey.

Project Update:
Finished Chapter Six, and a pivotal scene in Alasdair’s development.

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