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CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT– Terrible Writing Advice

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT– Terrible Writing Advice

This chapter of Terrible Writing Advice was
brought to you by Audible. People change. Characters change over time. Sometimes something happens that causes someone
to rethink their approach. I’ve done a lot of thinking recently. After all, I made Terrible Writing Advice
for a reason. But now, I have to say and I hope you will
not be upset, but I have to tell everyone something important. That I’ve changed and that you… should
buy my book! Oh. And I guess I should talk about character
development too. Character development is something every writer
should learn… to fake. Why spend time carefully developing characters
when we can just take shortcuts that give the illusion of our characters changing over
time? Well, this video can teach any writer to create
the appearance of character development. But where to start? Perhaps I should start with drawing a distinction
between character development vs character growth? Character development marks how a character
changes over time where as character growth is how a character improves in terms of skills
and obstacles overcome. But I’m going to conflate them anyway. Now that we have cleared up definitions, we
still need to find a way to begin our approach. The best way to start developing a character
is the same way we start a story. By info dumping the back story during their
introduction. We may have just met this character, but they
will not hesitate to spill their entire backstory to complete strangers who didn’t even ask. Backstory is an excellent tool to give the
reader insight into a character, which means it’s a-okay to dump a character’s full
biography on the reader in chapter one. Wait. I am far too lazy to come with a backstory. I think I’ll just use the same trick as
the one I used on the anti hero video and just keep my characters’ pasts mysterious
instead. But now I need a new way to develop my characters. Showing my characters doing something is too
much like actual work. Just have the other side characters talk about
a protagonist’s development instead. Why did the character change? Well because I said so and so did all the
other characters. Then don’t actually change anything about
the character. No one is going to notice. We could show the events and choices that
shape a character’s evolution, but having characters talk about how much our protagonist
has ‘grown’ over the course of the story will work just as well. Wait. Isn’t this kind of terrible advice? No. Can’t be. But maybe I should consider actually having
my characters do something that merits development and growth. I know! I’ll make them more powerful! That is exactly what character development
really is, lumping on more and more cool powers and abilities for our protagonist to utilize! Because constantly seeking more and more power
is what makes a person good right? Well I suppose we could also have our characters
overcome their flaws while we are at it. Flaw scrubbing is a great way to fake character
growth. Need to develop a secondary character? Just have them realize they have a character
flaw at the story’s mid point. Then they can be safely ignored for the rest
of the story because now that they don’t have any flaws they’re boring. Naturally, we should only have our protagonist
lose flaws at the very end of the story and only one flaw should be removed per book for
maximum series potential. Flaw scrubbing is great because once someone
realizes they have a flaw, said flaw instantly vanishes. Actually working to improve moral character
is dumb when we can take shortcuts instead and that is what flaw scrubbing is all about. Uh-oh. Did a fan favorite character get all of their
flaws scrubbed in the story? Did a charming rogue learn to open up and
trust those around him and ultimately sacrifice for a cause greater than himself? Well that’s going to be a problem because
now he has nothing to learn for the sequel. There is only one thing to do. No, not give him a new character arc that
is a natural outgrowth from the lessons learned in the previous story. Nope. We reset his character back to the way he
was before as though nothing happened at all. His struggles, his trials, his suffering and
sacrifices that shaped his choices and made him a truly better person should all be completely
invalidated and his character sent back to square one. I’m sure fans will be thrilled to see their
emotional investment in their favorite character squandered. So we reset our character for the sequel,
gave them a bunch of powers, had other characters tell us about our protagonist’s growth,
and created a backstory. What more could we add to aid in a character’s
development? How about a love triangle! Now I know what you are wondering. Is there really room in a story for both character
development and a love triangle? Of course there is… but we’re not going
do that. Instead, it’s best for a writer to simply
trick themselves into thinking that the protagonist’s realization of her true feelings for handsome
McBadboy is gripping character development. Meanwhile the romantic subplot should gradually
strangle any real semblance of character development. There is simply no time for the character
to care about anything else other than resolving their relationship drama. I suppose a writer could use a budding relationship
to show how a character learns to compromise or show how a teen gradually learns to handle
new emotions. But those are not nearly as interesting as
subjecting the reader to endless pages of a character’s internal pining and complete
inability to just… freaking… spit it out and finally admit to what they actually want. [clears throat]. Sorry. Where was I? Oh right. Just be sure the said romantic revelation
comes at the end of the story. Got to get our money’s worth out of that
love triangle. Wait. What am I even saying? That’s not any way to write. No. A character should gradually build up their
arc over the course of the story until a revelation that shows them a truly new perspective allowing
them to change. A character could undergo a true metamorphosis,
and maybe even become a better person. Or they could miss their moment forever and
reject their golden opportunity to better themselves. Failure to grow can result in them becomg
eternally lost in darkness and doomed to unknowingly play the role of villain. But that won’t happen to me. I’ve decided to change for good! From now on I stand for true artistic integrity! Now buy my book and give me your money! This chapter of Terrible Writing Advice was
brought to you by Audible. Audible is a leading provider of premium audiobooks
and other audio products. I personally love audiobooks because they
are great for passive listening while you work or on a long drive. They also make exercise much less tedious. And if you check out
(link in the description) or text “terrible” to 500 500 you can get your first month free
with a 30 day trial membership and a free audiobook. Not sure which book to start with? Well if you want some good examples of books
with compelling character development, I recommend Saints and Villains by Denise Giardina (jar-dina). It’s a historical fiction novel and a character
study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who resisted the Nazis. It’s a pretty dark novel, but if you want
to get to the core of a character, putting them into dark places is a way to see the
true moral worth of someone. Character is what are in the dark. You can get that or any other audiobook for
free when you go to or text “terrible” to 500 500 or click the link
provided in the description to get started. 30 day trial with a free audiobook

100 comments on “CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT– Terrible Writing Advice

  1. Gotta love how people who think they have literary skill and understanding will click on a video about BAD writing, and leave the names of well-written characters in the comments, believing that they’re making a valid point.

  2. When I saw the thumbnail I thought immediately of the Mafia City ad meme
    Left: Lv. 1 Crook
    Middle: Lv. 20 Hitman
    Right: Lv. 99 Boss
    T H A T ‘S H O W M A F I A W O R K S

  3. One thing about stories is that pre modern might do things that are basically cliches and are difinantly a bit badly written compared to todays standards.

  4. This guy seems like someone who puts alot of thought into the content of a story and its merit I don't know for sure whether this guy is an author but this guys videos are preaty good

  5. Good character growth and development can be read in Starship Troopers, Rico goes from disliking the Army to being fully brainwashed by its ideals

  6. Idk how to feel honestly
    Like one day ill be cheery happy and kind and the other day ill be a douchebag am i weird?

    (Not the best place to ask but

  7. "Once someone realizes they have a flaw, said flaw is instantly erased!" whoa… I've seen that in real life.

  8. A novel called the Black Knight has a journey story alongside which the reader gets an insight in how a true Paladin came to become the undead warrior-wizard he is now. At the end his past self offers him redemption, which the current self refuses, still blaming "fate" and "God" for his condition, unable to set his resentment aside and try to adopt another perspective on how his life could change and what it could become.

  9. "We reset his character back to the way he was before as though nothing happened at all"

    Cough*remove their memories*Cough*set them back to level one*cough

  10. People relapse from their "growth" all the time. Ever heard of midlife crisis? Also "just do it lol" is not a legitimate criticism of romance stories. Nobody can just outright confess except people who don't take things seriously anyway.

  11. As someone whose greatest strength in writing is characters and their development, this was extremely painful to watch.

  12. I made a story plot, here it goes:
    K so basically there is a young teenage girl named Marina Suerre with long brown hair who gets bullied at her magic school but suddenly finds out she is a hybrid between a fairy wolf dragon and witch. She uses the powers and the ancient prophecy to fight the evil dark lord along with the other edgy outcasts in her class and finally gets equal rights for the kitchen sink elves and physco midgets. After that she gets stuck in a love decdrehedron with fellow war fighters and students but dates the hot bad boy vampire, who is an antihero who killed the bullies, and becomes queen of the dragon kingdom.

  13. I don't know why I watch your videos. They just depress the hell out of me and make me second guess myself into writer's block. Thanks.

  14. Several writers I know of (They shall remain unnamed for their safety but they may or may not have been involved with an epic space opera) have taken this advice literally

  15. An example of character development could be how a character does their job, in this scenario character growth would be using methods that another successful employee uses.

  16. Oh I got the perfect love triangle idea! Okay so there's this bland girl right. And shes inlove with this really cute vampire that loves her back, oh and while were at it lets throw in a really hot were wolf guy who also for no reason at all is inlove with this bland girl. During this time she kinda leads them both on. This way we can split the readers into 2 teams. Team vampire and team were wolf! We'll tease the readers by making her unsure of who she really wants as both of these guys fight for her and just to add more to her importants lets add a vampire war and the leader vampire of the opposing clan wants to kill her, but nobody except the leader knows why. ~Skipping lots of fighting and adventure to end up at end of the book~ okay so in the final act all armys March to the battle feild ready to fight for the bland girl. Blandy not wanting to lose her friends and family leaves both the vampire and were wolf and surrenders herself to the opposing army, the leader kills her and steals her power (turns out her mother was a witch so therefore she unknowingly was one too) after that the vampire and were wolf are upset, yell at eachother, blame eachother, and after a night if sleep they forgive eachother and decide to get pay back where they set up a trap and kill their enemy. After that the were wolf clan and vampire clan make a peace treaty and move on with their lives finding love. 100+ years later the treaty is broken and the were wolfs and vampires are at war again. But one wolf and vampire fall inlove and run away from their families murderous blood soaked feud.

    Still a better and less cliche version of Twilight.

  17. Not interested in another Star Wars VII and VII discussion…. Oh … Wait…. This is terrible writing advice?

  18. Okay, so, in shrek, shrek learns to love himself after years of being pushed away, and then in shrek 2, he goes through the same thing, except with friends beside him to help him remember he’s loved. He goes through a reinforcement of his development, without necessarily reverting to his old state.

  19. OK I am way late to the party, but does Guts count as a character that has good character development? Coz I feel like he does, as we really follow his character at different points in his life and get to see his priorities, outlook, wants and needs change whilst not completely discarding who he is (I am biased because I love Berserk).

  20. You know, Terrible writing advice was named by its real-life creator because the advice us well, terrible. In the context of the universe J.B named the show ironicly. Make of that what you will

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