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C. David Cole writes...

Hi Mr. Weisman

I was re-watching Gargoyles and I was looking at how you give your characters' arcs: Goliath learning to trust humans again; the Manhattan clan expanding their philosophy of protecting the castle from the physical castle to the city itself.

I recently read an article by another writing about a type of character she called the mysterious stranger. This character is basically a character that doesn't change. I've read that characters like James Bond have been described as such a character. These type of characters sometimes change the lives of other characters in story but by the end of the story they are still the same character they were at the beginning.

A lot of superheroes are said to be these type of characters. One writer said that Batman shouldn't become happy, Bruce Banner shouldn't learn to control his anger, and the Hulk shouldn't become intelligent (though it has been done), or these characters lose what makes them who they are.

I wondering what are your thoughts on protagonist that don't change.

Can characters be kept the same after going through major events and still seem believable?

Or

Is character change necessary to make believable characters?

Greg responds...

I don't believe in hard and fast rules. And I don't think you've asked an either/or question.

Can characters be kept the same after going through major events and still seem believable? It depends on the character and the event.

Is character change necessary to make believable characters? Depends on the character and the change.

If a character is changed by everything that happens to him or her, than he or she is less a character than a leaf in the wind. So unless THAT is the type of character you're trying to portray, you haven't succeeded much.

If a character is NEVER changed by anything that happens to him or her, than he or she is less a character than a block of wood. So unless THAT is the type of character you're trying to portray, you haven't succeeded much.

But VERY interesting characters can be created from leaves in the wind and/or blocks of wood too.

So, again - I'm not big on sweeping generalizations or hard and fast rules.

Response recorded on December 11, 2012


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