This week: Emotional GrowthEdited by: Lonewolf
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Character Emotional Development is how an author brings a character to life on the page or screen. Character Development of the protagonist is often one of the most neglected elements. People read books 70% for the characters. We love slipping out of our own lives and inside characters' lives.
The most powerful way to reach an audience is through the characters' emotions. For only when we connect with the characters on an emotional level, does the interaction become deep and meaningful. Well-written scenes that include characters' emotions allow the audience to viscerally take part in the story and bond with the characters.
It is no small feat to create unique characters from scratch and make them believable and likable. To hold a reader's interest for the duration of the project they must embody enough depth and complexity, have just the right voice, and be three-dimensional, vibrant characters. Though some audience members rather enjoy a more distanced, intellectual challenge, most want to engage with characters in books on an emotional level, too.
Often writers get stuck by staying in the character's head and "telling" what the character thinks. An emotion, on the other hand, has a strong physical component and is primarily felt in the body. The writer is able to "show" emotions through how the character relates or reacts to conflict.
Most of us in real life are capable of handling ourselves when things are going well or working in our favor. Throw in some sort of disaster, conflict, roadblock and we find out who we truly are. This same principle applies in stories. Readers alike want to participate in dramatic stories to learn how characters respond emotionally when things turn messy, challenging, and stressful when all is lost.
Storytelling involves more than lining up the action pieces, arranging them in a logical order and then drawing conclusions. Yes, dramatic action pulls readers to the edge of their seats. And yes, conflict, tension, suspense and curiosity hook readers. Yet, no matter how exciting the action, the character's emotional reactions and emotional development provide fascination. Any presentation with a strong human element increases the chances of audience identification.
Every story sends a character on a journey that ends up causing the character to undergo an inner transformation. This ultimate character transformation is shown step-by-step through their Character Emotional Development. Emotional development is cumulative, based on all of the scenes over time, and is long-term and transformative.
Emotional development implies permanent growth, long-term change or transformation in the character in reaction to the dramatic action scene-by-scene throughout the overall story. The transformation the character undergoes takes place step-by-step from the beginning and spans throughout the entire story. If conflict, tension, and suspense drive the reader to turn the page or send them to the edge of their seat, the characters' emotional development inspires and connects them to the story.
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