We all want to write (and read!) captivating stories. Stories that will be remembered and re-read throughout the years. Stories that make us feel allll the feelings. We want to resonate with the things we read, and we want other people to be interested in and excited for the stories we tell. Some might think that results like these are reserved for a select few writers (or the stories they write), or that it's just a matter of luck. Guess what? It's not!
What these stories have in common is one and the same thing that makes them good. It took me a hot minute to figure out what this thing was, but now that I know - I know. Ever since, a whole new writing world opened up to me and I can't wait to tell you what you need to write a good story.
It's quite simple, really. Good stories aren't good because of their plot, or because of the world that the story happens in. Heck, good stories aren't even good because of the person who wrote it. It's something entirely different: good stories always show character development. This basically means that your characters need to become actual people. It's not going to work if you decide to let your characters be static pawns in your story without a mind of their own.
Your characters need to have dreams and goals.
Your characters need to have flaws.
Your characters need to be complex!
Like I said, there's more to a good story than an exciting plot. I'm not saying that you don't need a plot for your story, but I am saying that the plot isn't the most important thing of your story. Character development is. Your story can only have an impact on your readers when the events mean something to your characters. Bonus points if your reader can relate to your characters, because that's what makes them emotionally invested in your story!
Think about it. When listening to a story that someone's telling you, what makes you interested in hearing the rest of the story? I bet it's not necessarily the thing that happened, but the way that it made the person telling their story feel, or how it changed their views on a certain topic.
Picture this: your friend is telling you about eating an apple. Imagine them telling: "I ate an apple." What do you feel? Probably not much. I bet you're not particularly interested in hearing more about that event. Now imagine them telling you: "I ate an apple. When I took the first bite, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I never thought I could be terrified of apples." Now that's a different story, right? The event (eating an apple), a.k.a. the plot, didn't change. But eating that apple meant something to your friend, and it was the way they changed, a.k.a. the character development, that made you emotionally invested in that impactful story.
Do you need an extra set of eyes to see how you can incorporate character development in your story? I can help you! As a writing coach, I guide writers write the best story they possibly can. Feel free to contact me here. I coach in English and Dutch, and I can't wait to hear about your characters and how they change throughout your story!
- Pia Sophia