The end of a character

Last time I blogged about character development. I wondered how the children I know now would grow as they become adults. When you’re young you have so many choices before you. You can be anything you want to be and nothing can stop you but your own mind.

As a writer we dream a past and future for our characters. We grow to love them, even the evil ones, and plot out their lives. We hold the power to make their lives wonderful or miserable. Long or short.

I joked this morning to a critique partner who was after feedback that when in doubt she could consider killing  a character. That death could have caused huge conflicts between the hero and heroine, guilt and relief. It might make the story better and the happily ever after sweeter. It is not a joke I will ever make again.

There is no happily ever after today. Not when a boy was sixteen, had his whole life ahead of him but by a foolish choice deprived himself of a happily ever after. Youth, speed and trees end a life.

RIP Ryan.

Building Character

My son played soccer this weekend. Not really an uncommon event but it was interesting game. I was particularly interested in how the boys interacted.

One boy has a habit of stealing the ball away from his own team members. Not really a nice trait in a player but I don’t think he means it. His focus is totally on the ball and the other kids seem to let it slide.

Another child, a frequent goal scorer, I heard him mutter “too easy” when he scored his third goal of the match. Yeah, I agree, his reaction is slightly scary but I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it. He’s a really sweet kid.

My son is not a consistent player and is easily distracted. Yet yesterday he was on fire, his best game of the year, but unfortunately the last of the season. He scored! And his reaction – the biggest, brightest smile I’ve ever seen on his face. Plus two thumbs up!

What I’ve been thinking about is how differently the boys react. How far will the traits they have now change as they age? What type of partner will grow to love them?

I know, at age seven, I might be getting a bit ahead of myself, but when we develop characters to write about, the experiences of childhood affect how they react to situations too.

How far back into your characters past do you imagine when crafting your story?