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Thursday, December 14, 2006


Fictional Darwinism

... or 'Darwining' for short. Defined as:

Letting a minor character get bigger and bigger till he or she takes over the narrative - figuring, 'Stuff it, survival of the fittest' and going with it.

Always good? Always bad?

I wouldn't say 'always good' or 'always bad', but in general definitely worth a shot.

The counterpoint, I suppose, would be fictional 'Intelligent Design', wherein a character is given traits that are functional in terms of the plot, yet somehow fail to add up to plausible-seeming person.

I suppose that both design and evolution play a part in the development of most fictional characters.
Maybe you could work it into the drafts and all. Often character function ends up being determined by the course of the story, and I hear a lot of other writers say, "Oh, I started with this main character, but then this other one ended up being what the story was about." So if a character ends up becoming more the focus than originally intended, one can always go back and revise the beginning to keep it consistent.

If that's Darwining, then JK Rowling has a serious case of genetic engineering. Hermione is forever stealing the show. Me, I would have made Hermione the protagonist, but Harry hangs in there, book after book.

I'm a strong believer in writing the book you want to write, but then I'm also unpublished, and I can't actually prove there's no connection between the two :D. If the lesser character becomes the more interesting one, let them have their way. Why not? Try and force the book where it doesn't want to go and it'll be miserable, you'll be miserable, and your first reader will tell you, "wow, it shows how much you hated writing this book". Meh.
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