Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I was watching Supernatural recently - I know it's a TV show and this is a blog about writing, but I like the show and it's my blog, so deal with it - and I started wondering if it was possible to develop a character too much.  Can you add so much to the story that further development of the character disturbs the original story?

In the final show of the season, we learn that God and his Archangels fought against an overpowering darkness to create the universe as we know it, and that God trapped the darkness in a mark that he then gave to Lucifer.  However, the mark began to assert itself and corrupted Lucifer, leading him to grow jealous of mankind and turn against God.

The problem with this turn of events is that, in my opinion, it makes Lucifer a far less interesting character.  By this account, he wasn't responsible for his own turning, but rather was forced to turn by an outside force.  Doesn't this seem to contradict his whole raison d'etre?

It got me thinking - could the show, in trying to make a storyline more compelling, have hurt its mythos?  It seems the answer is yes.

This is where we get back to writing.  Many of us have epic works in progress, or we're working on sequels and series for our characters.  Well, do we face the same potential problem?  How many stories have we seen where the bad guy turns good three books later, or where the abandoned baby that grew into a hero found his parents?

These supposedly shocking developments harm our characters by removing layers that originally made them interesting.  Yes, we want to keep our storyline going, but if we take them too far, we risk not only making further character development boring, but we also risk wiping out the past of our characters and making their whole point become irrelevant.

Yes, keep developing your characters, but never lose sight of what made them interesting to begin with.  Be careful that in trying to keep going, you don't go too far.

No comments:

Post a Comment