Recently, my oldest daughter tagged me in a photo on Facebook. (Don’t worry Mel, I’ll get you back one day. Not for this one, but for some of the other ones you tagged me in!)
Yup, that’s me and my first baby. She looks a bit like Miss Charlotte if you ask me..
The picture, of the two of us, was taken twenty-nine years ago this month. Egad was my hair really that dark, my skin so smooth and wrinkle free? (Insert comment here about how I haven’t changed an iota in the past twenty-nine years. Okay, who am I kidding?)
One friend commented that she didn’t recognize me in the photo at first. I wasn’t surprised. Time will do that to the best of us. We can try to stop the years from rolling by. We can colour our hair, get a face-lift, change our wardrobe, but try as we may, there’s not a thing we can do to stop these changes from coming.
The years bring about change. It’s a given. It’s what life’s about.
Of course most change happens so slowly that we don’t even seem to notice it happening.
Over the years, we change our looks, we change our minds and, we change our outlook on life. Hopefully, once we reach a certain age we start figuring a few things out. The truths I believed in when I was in my twenties, and even thirties, have changed to reflect the person I am today. Life events have a way of changing us on the inside. We grow.
The same is true for the characters we write about.
In every story we write or read, there has to be some change. Just as we change in real life, our fictitious characters cannot stay suspended in time. Change is a necessity, and an important part of every story. An important part of life. It may not always be something life altering (although it may be) but there has to be some sort of change, however subtle it may be, if you want to keep your novel real.
A great example of a character changing is Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. He goes from being a grumpy old coot to a wonderful friend and neighbour. What more could anyone ask for, I say? Most characters in the novels we read won’t go through such a dramatic change, but still we look for something. Don’t we? Change is what matters and if the characters don’t matter to us, the book won’t matter. We may even find ourselves setting the book down never to pick it up again.
I find it a bit interesting that as much as most of us dislike change for ourselves, we welcome it wholeheartedly in the books we read. We can hardly wait for a certain character to have a change of heart, or to accept the changes that have entered into their lives. We even cheer when this transformation takes place. It makes me ask the question, why are we more willing to accept change for our characters than we are for ourselves? Or perhaps you are one of those people who accept change as a part of life. Still, I find this whole concept of change interesting. How about you?