We’ve all been asked that question before. “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?”
Pfft. So corny and so predictable. I was once asked that in the one and only pageant I’ve ever been in. (And believe me, one was plenty – it’s insanity. But I won’t get into that).
Nevertheless, I do tend to think about this idea quite a bit. If I could change one thing about myself, would I really have the gumption to do it? If a magic genie granted me three wishes, would I take them and change everything?
I don’t know if I can rightly answer that question. There are physical attributes I’d change, but what I have makes me who I am, so I don’t know if I’d want to.
The trait I think I’d most like to change is to be more spontaneous. Ergh! I almost broke out into a rash confessing that.
Spontaneity gives me panic attacks. Obviously it says something about my lack of trust and my control issues, but I’m a planner. I can’t help it. But I think that sets me up for missing out on a lot in life. I never (or VERY rarely) take up someone’s offer to do something spur of the moment. The most spontaneous I get is planning something for the evening earlier that same day. And even that makes me uncomfortable.
That being said, while I was thinking this over, I wondered if there was anything I’d like to change about the characters in my books, especially now that their personalities and traits are fairly fixed in my mind?
If you’ve been with me since the beginning, you’ll know that my villain is based physically on Benedict Cumberbatch. But look what he did to me!
Why did he have to make this so hard? I thought I had a clear image in my mind of my villain, but here he had to go and make it difficult. Hmph.
But besides the physical characteristics, I wondered if there were anything I’d like to change about my character’s personalities.
And the answer is yes! And you know what? I can do it! That’s what makes writing so amazing! Changing things up in mid-stride makes for plot twists and turns and keeps readers on the edge of their seats.
Now, I’m not going to change them so much that they’re lost as a character. Too much change makes them unrecognizable (unless that was your point in the first place). But I think I’ll be throwing in a few character changes throughout my MG fantasy series, not only for the readers’ attention, but to keep things interesting for me, as well.
So tell me… Is there anything you’d change about your characters? About yourself? What frightens you the most about changing a character mid-book? Would you ever do it?
“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe