If you give your characters what Aristotle called ‘consistent inconsistencies', you add depth: an ambitious politician who can't say no to anything his wife and children demand; a gregarious extrovert who hides an intense fear of new situations; a ruthless spy with a soft spot for budgerigars. When these inner conflicts are hidden from other characters, but unveiled to readers it produces more drama as we see the extent the politician will go to in order to protect his family from threats; the extrovert's fears as, wanting to impress his girlfriend, he takes her to a new holiday destination; how distraught the spy becomes when his birds catch a virus and die.
When we make new friends we learn about their characteristics, history and behaviour in various circumstances over time. In much the same way, writers should introduce these foibles, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies to readers gradually.
The importance of a protagonist should never be underestimated. Great fictional personalities enter the cultural and individual imaginations. Due the pictorial nature of stories and the emotional attachment we develop as we follow the main character's struggles, their examples enter our subconscious, and have the ability to inspire us. This is no small achievement.
After the third edit of my paranormal adventure, I’m resting the story, though like a mother with a baby, it’s never far from my mind. Another title, however, continues to elude me, so I’m giving it time to simmer, mulling it over and circling back now and then. I'm not in anxiety, though. I have faith it will appear at the right moment.
Karen's been on an Australian road trip. Follow her journey at:
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