July 08, 2012

Conviction and Character Development

Does your character have conviction?       Which one?
   By definition, Conviction means your characters have an opinion and belief that is firmly and uniquely held by each one. Their convictions drive their motives and their actions.
   Convictions are sincere and passionate. They make, cause, or force your characters (both the Antagonist and the Protagonist) to move or act in a certain way and with cer-tain-ty. If two different characters act and move on their firmly held beliefs or opinions, then you have conflict, especially if your main characters convictions (beliefs) are in opposition to one another. Conviction causes movement or action and is a single force that can drive the book, movie, or play forward. Conviction must be on going from one scene or one chapter to another and does not require a change in the characters view point... especially the Antagonist. Usually with strong convictions as the driving force, the scenes in your book, movie, or play will grow stronger, and more dramatic. And, the doggedness with which your character holds his/her convictions will make it so.
   If the character does change or alter his/her convictions it should always move further into the belief system and not backwards into doubt. It should be enhanced or more intense, and it should cause the Hero a great deal of concern, worry and challenging fear.
   In the majority of cases it is the Antagonist who maintains his convictions till the living end. The antagonist is so entrenched in his convictions he is willing to die in order to carry them out. Therefore, his convictions tend to be fanatical, unnerving, and extremely evil.... worldconquering evil. Believe it or not, that is exactly what you want from the Antagonistic characters. The writer wants them to be firmly entrenched and dug in to their belief or position - moving and acting on it with a vengeance. Blinded, if you will, by thei time frame and mission.
   Did you see the movie "Taken".  Every one of the characters was entrenched in their beliefs including the Protag who committed evil acts that seemed justified, considering the circumstances.
    Let the protagonist grow and have doubts, if he wants to, or if he must be humane, but the Antagonist should always be allowed to do it his way without any interference from the writer or the “goody - two - shoes“, Protag - if he leans that way, or a higher power. After all, Antagonists tend to be on the road to a destruction of somekind.
Let the Protagonist worry about leaning lessons in life and growing to be a better person. That’s our Protags job...learning the lessons in life...come what may. But the job and actions (by definition), we want our Antagonists to be involved in are witless and wisdom-less and certainly not riddled with doubt and angst.
   Let the Protagonist use honorable, friendly, persuasion to get someone to accept or believe in his views and opinions, because - to be perfectly honest - the Antagonist has already heard all of them, and he is still on the road toward his destructive mission - come hell or high water. Who knows, maybe after he’s done everything he’s big enough to do, than maybe the Antagonist will change his unsound beliefs or convictions to make it more palatable, but it will never be in harmony with the hero ...it simply can’t be. He wouldn’t be the Antagonist.

Writers are getting  more creative in character development, because I see more Protags doing the unthinkable and not looking back, or ruminating on it. Good idea.

Besides, if someone ever reformed the Joker, or Lex Luther they’d probably be a bore.

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Book Reviewer Disclaimer: Writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com receives books free or in a downloaded PDF format-for the express purpose of providing a book review at no charge. The opinions expressed in book reviews are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the (FTC) Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR, part 255. WriteStuff-WriteNow Antoinette "Toni" McKain. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010-2012 A division of GACM Inc.

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