The Ditchwalk Book Club is reading and discussing Rust Hills’ seminal work, Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular. Announcement here. Overview here. Tag here.
Just as Hills previously discussed fixed and moving actions, here he confronts Moving Characters, as against Fixed Characters. Where actions poorly prepared for smack of the author’s will, a change in character poorly prepared for smacks of an unconvincing shift.
The difference between the two types of characters — both in construction and in the effect they have on the reader — is found in preparation. Whether you’re writing a fifteen-page short story or a five-hundred page novel, you probably know in advance, if only at a gut level, which characters will be central to and affected by the story, and which characters will be presented only as context, backdrop, continuity and spice. The former group will necessarily need more preparation and presentation than the latter, precisely because they will change, however slightly, along the way. [ Read more ]