I’m copyediting a book I’m utterly delighted by right now, which is wonderful since I’ve been so extremely busy; it reminds me of why I always thought copyediting fiction was a dream job. :-)
At the back of my mind, though, I’ve been thinking about something on character development that perhaps some of the writers/readers/editors on the list will have some insight on. It’s been tugging at me, oddly enough, ever since I took my kids to Cars last week, but I focus so tightly on individual projects with copyediting that I haven’t been able to work through it the way I’d like.
(Bear with me through the Cars explanation–I promise it doesn’t have to do just with that. ;-))
With a kids’ show, of course, everything is exaggerated, and the protagonist’s growth in Cars is no exception. Lightning starts out as a selfish and arrogant jerk and grows into a thoughtful and caring individual. In adult fiction, the growth is usually more subtle. :-)
Nonetheless, that direction for growth isn’t uncommon in the fiction I see, while others are. Arrogance and selfishness seem more acceptable as character faults to be outgrown than, for instance, neediness or insecurity, and I wonder if we expect a certain pattern.
Are there initial character faults in a protagonist that turn you off of a book? What are some of your favorite examples of character growth–from what to what? Which authors manage it best?