Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Problematic Characters (part 2)
Tension is necessary in a story, because without it, readers will quickly lose interest. The plot itself is often the main source of tension, and sometimes the plot can be so involved that adding too much tension among characters can unbalance the flow of a story. However, characters that are without some form of conflict, internal and/or external can quickly become mundane and uninteresting. It is definitely a difficult trick, though, to figure out just how much conflict is necessary. One way is the slow build, where the problems might not be especially overt at first, but over time, the problematic character might develop into something that the others have to finally contend with. Another angle for balancing out a problematic character is to give the reader insight into his motivations that the other characters don't yet have. This helps the reader find more patience with a character that they otherwise might have quickly decided to dislike. Slow discovery of a problematic character's motivations through other characters in the story also helps readers to be patient with a character that seems unlikeable from the start. Ultimately, though, the writer must tread a precarious line between making a problematic character intriguing or risk causing that character to be so disliked that he or she ruins the story entirely.