Reflections on Character

I was going to write a blog post on Monday, but on Saturday I got the news that a close friend had died. She had a good innings, as they say, and was starting to suffer quite serious health issues, so I felt a strange mix of sadness and relief on finding out. Relief that she had gone before things got really too much for her to bear, and sadness because she was such a lovely person, and I will miss her so very much.

Anyway, instead of writing or blogging, or any of the things I had planned to do, I ended up just flaking out catching up on about 10 episodes of a TV series that I hadn’t seen yet. This one was fairly typical of many American TV series; lots of mini drama plot lines which run for 1 or 2 episodes while the characters keep on developing throughout the whole series.

What is interesting for me is that these series are very predictable in many ways; barring the odd occasional character being killed off or leaving the series, the viewer knows that eventually the main characters will overcome any obstacles placed in their way, and order will be restored. What is the unknown is how they will do it, and how the characters will develop while doing it. And so the plotlines become just a backdrop in which to showcase the qualities and development of the characters, and the characters become the most important feature of the series. This has parallels for me in writing romance, where the reader knows they are going to get their happy ending, but the most important thing is what happens along the way and how the characters develop. So if you ever find yourself procrastinating and watching TV serials when you should be writing, just tell yourself you’re doing research into character development and settle down with a big bowl of snacks.

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