27: Character Development

It’s interesting to me how we rationalize our affinities towards characters in any story. Take characters in movies or TV for example, women will gush over men on the big screen and fawn over their character regardless of flaws or lack of depth. On the other hand, a woman could fawn over a character based on character development. We like the bad boy who turns out to be sweet. But when the sweet guy turns out to have character flaws, we begin to hate him.

Why is this? Obviously, a lot of the time the reasons for this is manipulating the characters and story so that viewers/readers see it that way. But why does it work?

I mean, maybe it doesn’t always work. But a lot of the time when it comes to stories, there are popular and unpopular opinions and plenty of people on both sides. No one is necessarily right but there are always varying degrees of justification. It’s always based on personal preferences but what defines those preferences? Is it personal experience? Is it relatability? Is it blind want?

For example, why do people think violent teenage girls are funny in sitcoms? Or did. I know why I did. I resonated with those girls before I realized they were even characters. I was a violent girl in school so I understood. Was it me inserting my own complex backstory into those girls? Sympathizing with them because I knew that expressing yourself when you’re only comfortable with one way is hard? Or was it justifying my horrible actions because it was a common TV trope?

I don’t know, obviously. A lot of these posts are about me not knowing and mostly speculation. I suppose that was already apparent to those of you who have been reading these for a while. In any case, it’s got me thinking pretty seriously about it.

As a writer, it makes me wonder if I’m rounding out my characters and stories enough. Are there enough flaws? Are there enough good traits? Do I need to give them weird stuff? Is this funny? Should it be sad? Is there enough growth? Or maybe I’m thinking too much.

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