World, Writing, Wealth discussion

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message 1: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments How does one reconcile between consistency in a character vs round characters in literary fiction where consistency could be deemed as flat character.


message 2: by Michel (last edited Jun 06, 2017 06:09AM) (new)

Michel Poulin A good character should grow from his/her experience and show it to the reader, in my opinion. Find a new love, improve as a person, learn bitter lessons, find compassion in one's heart, become vengeful, etc. A flat character will quickly become repetitive and boring to readers.

Consistency in characters mean to me that a character doesn't swing from one extreme to the other for no good reason (from uneducated to genius scientist, from kind to cruel and sadistic,liking something one day and disliking it the next week etc).


message 3: by Mehreen (last edited Jun 06, 2017 06:51AM) (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Michel wrote: "A good character should grow from his/her experience and show it to the reader, in my opinion. Find a new love, improve as a person, learn bitter lessons, find compassion in one's heart, become ven..."

Well explained. My thoughts too.


message 4: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13764 comments Consistency I hear is about 'recognizability' of a character throughout a book. I believe in character's moral, emotional progress or regress for that matter along the story. A saint corrupted or a demon redeemed -:)


message 5: by Nat (last edited Jun 06, 2017 12:37PM) (new)

Nat Kennedy | 29 comments The character has three dimensions (not in the way you think). Think of it this way. The first dimension is what people see on the outside. The second dimension is more internal. It includes backstory and lays a framework for why the character makes choices they do. The third dimension can break the consistency. When given a choice on a major plot moment, which way will they go. Sometimes this goes totally opposite from what they do previously based on the situation you set them up in.

You just have to write the story in a way that we generally understand the decision the character makes.


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9741 comments Nat wrote: "The character has three dimensions (not in the way you think). Think of it this way. The first dimension is what people see on the outside. The second dimension is more internal. It includes backst..."

Yes, I think a key point is that when a character makes a key decision, the reader should not be surprised at it. They may not have anticipated it, but they should understand why the character made it, based on what has gone before.


message 7: by Tim (last edited Jun 08, 2017 05:20AM) (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments Ian wrote: Yes, I think a key point is that when a character makes a key decision, the reader should not be surprised at it. They may not have anticipated it, but they should understand why the character made it, based on what has gone before.

I have to disagree with you, Ian. I love it when characters surprise me (as the author) and I hope they surprise the readers as well. In real life people are constantly surprising me and that is largely how I learn about them. For me, the same has to be true of fictional characters. The key word is believability. If the reader is emotionally invested and immersed in the story they will readily accept the decisions a character takes. For me a good fiction writer creates a reality where the reader is an observer and not a critic. Sure, they will judge a character's decision and call the character foolish or smart or overly vindictive, or hopelessly inept, but once immersed the observation will simply be that, an observation. For me questioning characters decisions is part of the fun of entering the surreality of a novel...


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9741 comments Tim, we may be saying much the same. Maybe, for me, surprise was not quite the right word. The key to what I was saying was "they should understand why the character made it, based on what has gone before," which corresponds more or less to your believability. As I said, the reader may not anticipate it, which, I guess, could mean surprise the reader. And I fully agree - we do not want the characters to always be predictable, although being predictable is also a character trait.


message 9: by Nat (last edited Jun 08, 2017 12:58PM) (new)

Nat Kennedy | 29 comments Agreed, it all depends on story.

If a character is totally out of character... It throws me. The character is an animal rights person, doesn't wear leather, and goes to a dinner party and eats the steak. WTH? I'm thrown out and don't relate to the character.

Now, if they have to eat the steak because THE STORY forces them into it because of the PLOT... I like that. His daughter is kidnapped and he has to play a roll and to be the person he's supposed to be to get his daughter, he has to eat the steak to fit in. That's interesting.

It all depends on story.


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