Change, Please!

How many times have you thought of a cool idea? A nifty setting? An intriguing character? How many times have those brainwaves failed to translate into gripping stories? Why do some stories draw you back while others leave you cold?

Conflict is the source of tension, and tension drives plot. Flawed stories often miss a key component of conflict. If a character overcomes obstacle after obstacle but never changes, they are nothing more than a cardboard cutout. The story has no soul.

The tales I love to reread involve massive evolution on the part of the main characters. A character may intrigue me at the start of a story, but it’s the changes they go through both in their life events and in the way they interact with those around them that cause me to reread the story and recommend it to others. How the characters change creates depth and nuance.

I’ve seen frequent complaints from editors that they will get stories with beautiful language and plot but no change occurs. Hurdles may be overcome but the character at the beginning of the story is exactly the same at the end.

So don’t give editors a reason to reject your work. Have your characters change over the course of your narrative and you will be on your way to creating memorable stories.

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