Wednesday, June 9, 2010

change

Most of us hate change, being all too comfortable in whatever bed we've made for ourselves, and I am the Queen of hating change. I am probably the least spontaneous person you will ever meet and if you call me out of the blue and ask me to go do something really fun with you I will probably say no, because it's already in my mind how the rest of my day/night is planned and the thought of changing that is decidedly uncomfortable. It isn't that I don't like to do fun things, I just want to schedule them a week or so in advance.

However, change is what makes a good story great, in my opinion, and when I think of the tales I've loved the best it is those where the character I knew in the beginning has changed by the end. I'm thinking of  Mara in Daughter of the Empire by Janny Wurts and Raymond Feist (a book I'm re-reading) who starts off as an innocent young girl about to take vows with a religious order and ends up second only to the Emperor. Or Ged in A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin who begins life as a goatherder and finishes by confronting the darkest parts of his own self. Or Jilly in many of Charles DeLint's Newford books (urban fantasy) who must face up to and relive her awful past in order to have a future. All these characters had to change and their journey made the story great.

And when I think of the books I didn't like, it wasn't just the writing or the lack of characterisation, it was the fact that whatever happened between the first and last page didn't seem to change who the characters started off as. Lots of stuff might have happened but then the characters went back to whatever life they'd had before, as if it were nothing. They didn't grow. They didn't change. They didn't evolve.

Maybe that's why I love certain books so much, because I know that in order for me to be a better person I have to continue to evolve and in order for a book to be great the people within it have to change. Otherwise, the journey is just a waste a time.

5 comments:

  1. I know about your lack of spontaneity. I know I've frightened you at times. Hee.... But It's also grounding, Marcy. Thank you.

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  2. You're absolutely right about a character changing. In my newest book, I love how Annie goes from this shy, uncoordinated, introverted 17-year-old to this confident, bold young lady who stands up for herself. There's a speech that she gives at the end that I just love because it really shows how far she's come in her journey. When I wrote it, I was like, "You go, girl. Yeah." I actually blogged about this this transformation a couple days ago.
    As far as the spontaneity thing, I have that going on, too. But I know that some of the best times I've had in life is when I did something unexpected or spontaneous. Sometimes we can plan too much, ya know?

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  3. So does that mean you are finally ready to come visit us in Singapore?

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  4. sure, I'll hop on a plane tomorrow ;)

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