Thursday, February 5, 2015

Character Development by Susan Tuttle

Susan Tuttle

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3

No one likes constantly happy characters or stories where nothing ever goes wrong—they call them boring. When we start a new story we know we’ll need to add layers to our characters. They’ll need good traits and a few annoying ones. They’ll need a goal to pursue and obstacles in their way. And they’ll need the all-important black moment where all seems lost. Forget any of these things and your story and characters feel one-dimensional.

Why?

Because it’s just not true to life.

Oh, I’m not talking about writing a story where the ending depresses you, because that’s not real life either—at least not as Christians. Take another look at that verse above. Suffering (which can be big or small) leads to perseverance. When our characters persevere through something, the reader cheers for them. They relate to them. They invest in them.

And what does that perseverance bring? Character. It burns off their rough edges and begins to shape them into a better person. A person that not only do our readers relate to, but one they can glimpse the fruit of their own journey in, which points to…

Hope. Because that’s next on the verse above. Suffering brings perseverance which produces character which leads to hope. The reason we write. The reason we put our characters through that black moment is because it’s the perfect backdrop to see God’s light shining brightly. All is not lost in that moment…rather hope is found.

Which is so important for our readers. Listen to the very next sentence in that verse: And hope does not disappoint us…

Our readers are never disappointed when we bring our characters through their full development process. That is why we need them—and our stories—to have the layers that take our readers from high to low and back to high again.

It’s the story of life.

It’s the story of Christ, full of hope.

And it’s that story we write. Yes, to entertain, but even bigger than that… to bring Him glory.

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Susan Tuttle is a homeschooling mom of three who is crazy about coffee, dark chocolate, and words—both reading and writing them. Combine that love of words with her passion for leading women to a life-changing encounter with Christ, and you’ll find her crafting Inspirational Contemporary Romance stories laced with humor, love, and healing transformations. When not cheering on her Ironman hubby, chasing the family dog, or tackling complex math problems to teach her kids (yes, even the third grader), you can catch Susan at her blog, Steps.

9 comments:

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  2. What a great way to explain the basics of fiction, Susan!

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    1. Thanks! It was all a God moment for me, so I had to share:) So glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. One of my absolute favorite verses, Susan. Sometimes it's the thing that the Lord uses to keep me going, too! :)

    So it shouldn't be a surprise that we should base our stories on it, but somehow it is. What a great way to think about it, especially when it comes to character development.

    Thanks so much for the new way of looking at it!

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    1. You are so welcome. This was all God as I developed new characters. I agree, it's shouldn't be a surprise, but He gave me such fresh insight. Love it when he does that:)

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  4. What a perfect verse for this topic. When I first started writing I had a hard time making my characters suffer. Thankfully I've moved past that. Thanks for showing me I'm helping them to grow.

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    1. Ah, yes, making them suffer. It's such a fine line, isn't it? I agree, this gave me a new way of looking it and finding balance too. And it does help them grow, which means it can help your readers grow too:)

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  5. Love how you tied this passage into creating characters, Susan!

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  6. Susan, I loved your: "It burns off their rough edges." A great image. Thanks for your post.

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