There’s a skunk that lives near my house. This Pepe wanders around close enough (do the have to be close?) to wake me EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.
(Oh! I forgot to tell everyone I had a dream about the Property Brothers from HGTV the other night. Yes! The skunk woke me from that dream, too.)
Here is my normal night:
Go to sleep. Fall asleep quickly.
Toss and turn. Fitful dreams.
Go to the potty.
Look at the clock. 12:25.
Shake and repeat.
Almost all night long.
So when I get close to having a pleasant bit of dreamy time–Property Brothers Dreamy Time–and skunk arrives . . . .
Well, I think murderous thoughts. And you can see they’re justified.
This is EXACTLY like our characters. They need to do what they really would do. And they need to be groomed for it in the writing of our novels. If one MC would never jump out of a plane, but must by the end of the book, then you need her to be getting ready for it. If one character has a social anxiety and would never speak up, but must by the end of the novel, then you need them to be taking the baby steps that will get them to this change. If one lady wouldn’t normally think of bagging a wild animal and throwing that very animal next to her worse enemy’s house, then I better get a bag, a protective suit and nose plugs.
There’s hardly anything worse (in reading) (not including a stinking skunk) than getting to the end of a book and saying, “That character would have never done that. Ever.” This means the writer hasn’t done her work. There was no character growth. At least not in the right direction.
And you don’t want to be that writer, do you?
Didn’t think so.