A Must for Me: Character Development

My favorite thing about books and TV shows (and movies, but not so much there) is character development. Plot and all the other good stuff is important too but what really sells it for me is the character development. Reading a long series or watching a long series where the characters don’t really change isn’t very appealing to me. That’s why shows like Law and Order SVU aren’t my favorites. Granted, there is a little bit of character development within shows like that but nowhere near the level I like.

I just finished watched the most recent episode of The Walking Dead and I must say, that show has some of the greatest character development. It’s become one of my favorite shows because of that, and the plot stuff of course. The development of Beth from a simple country girl to one who can hold her own against a zombie. Carol’s development from a battered housewife and mother to this bad ass woman… there’s just so much. In this episode Daryl and Carol were talking and they were commenting on how they’ve changed and I absolutely loved it. They recognize the subtle changes in each other that we as watchers can recognize (especially when you binge on it and catch up completely in a matter of weeks, you see everything that way).

My favorite book series right now is A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin (aka Game of Thrones). I love this series, not just for the epicness of Westeros and the characters, but because the characters go through so much and we can see their changes. Plus I love how the book is structured with each chapter being a different character; it allows us to see so many characters and their development! It’s just perfect for a C.D. lover like me.

Thinking back to my early days of reading I’m trying to pin-point how this love of C.D. came about. The series that sticks out is Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’s series Left Behind (the adult series). Granted, the writing isn’t stellar or anything but there’s a hell of a lot of character development. Seeing characters go from sinners just trying to figure things out to people who are trying to save the world from the Antichrist and all that mess… it’s amazing. I read it when I was pretty young so I’m guessing it left a pretty big impact on me. Plus the Little Women series, I don’t remember specifics with that one since it’s been SO long, but I’m sure there’s some C.D. in it.

As for TV early days… the only show I can really think of would be Lost, as sad as that is. If you didn’t love Charlie’s character development, or Sawyers, then you had a problem.

Character development is just something I’ve come to love, a lot. It’s also one of my favorite things to do when writing. It’s hard to do well but the pay off will be great when I finish. I love being able to see how a character’s choices have changed them for the better or worse and how events have changed them. It’s amazing to see a character like The Doctor in Doctor Who (a 1000 year old alien) learn something and develop into a better timelord. I think I love this aspect of books and TV because we all go through so much in our lives that it makes a huge impact on us, yet we hardly realize it except for the really big things. Books and TV allow us to see that in others and see the effect of choices and life situations, whether it’s the zombie apocalypse or a family member’s death within Westeros.

At the moment the character development I’m really enjoying is King Lear in Shakespeare’s play. I really like seeing his decline, it’s horrible but amazing to read at the same time. There’s just something especially awesome about a character spiraling into a dark place they shouldn’t be… maybe that’s just my twisted mind though… but I do prefer the good things too. I mean, I did give a bunch of examples of good things.

So, what’s your favorite thing about a book or TV show? Something different or are you on the Character Development train?

Until later Chaos Seekers!

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