The Myth of Character Development pt. III



Over the past month or so, we have been delving into the uncovered “Myth of Character Development”. All of the things that are wrong can be found in the previous two posts here and here. But there’s another part of character development we haven’t covered: the character we are developing.


The other side of the coin

Earlier, I have mainly been speaking in terms of developing a character as you move through a story. But what about the beginning? Is your character an actual character, or merely a plot device? The best way to combat myth of character development is simply to ask this:

Are my characters relatable or are they made of card board and fall over at the slightest examination?

Super Heroes

What makes a good super hero character? Their human side right? Batman is just a lonely little boy who lost his parents. Iron Man is a substance abuser who saves others because he can’t save himself.  These characters work because they have gone through life changing experiences and they come out trying to do right. And on the flip side, there’s Aquaman. yikes.

But they’re appealing (especially those two) because they are accessible. It’s almost as if they could be any one of us. You know, if we all had like a fabillion dollars and nothing else to do…


Here’s the thing about thrillers: most of them suck. Not only are the characters cardboard, the plots are usually lifted from the last best selling thriller novel. But there are a few exceptions in the character department. Clive Cussler has made a killing writing novels about Dirk Pitt. Perhaps you think they suck as well. That’s fine, I’m not particularly fond of them. However, Dirk Pitt is a perfectly adaptable character. If one reads from the first novel featuring our hero and continues through the whole series, he is very believable. If one picks up a later novel and sees that Dirk can hold his breath for like, an hour, then he seems silly…

A Few Practical Things

So let’s agree on something: bad characters have a stench. Everyone can smell them a mile away. Except sometimes the people who write them. So how do we keep from doing that?

1. Beta Readers

2. Comparison with characters in other works

3. Relateability (see above)


That’s it. We’ve covered it. Sorry if you were searching for some hidden wisdom. I don’t deal in that junk.


What are you working on? Do you even read this blog anymore? What would you think about a Sillyrobots podcast?!?!?!?! (FORESHADOWING)


One thought on “The Myth of Character Development pt. III

  1. Pingback: Westerns and Sci Fi | Silly Robots

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