When Characters Need A Personality Switch

I came across an old flash fiction last night, while going through old post drafts. Specifically, it’s set way back when I still had the old plot for Arrows, but after I’d meshed some characters together.

The characters were Zach & Ariel Shaw and Alexander & Amy Michaels; the former being the original protagonists of the whole shebang until a certain redhead and brunette (cough cough Connor & Kelly cough cough) decided that they were going to have tragic backstories and fall in love and take over the whole plot.

All for the better, of course, since trying to write Zach & Ariel as the protagonists was…meh. And then when Alex & Amy came along, he was basically Kelly’s big brother figure, since at this time, Kelly had the estranged sibling subplot. (Happily, that is no longer the case, but alas, I gave it to the siblings in The Woodsman instead)

Anyway, where was I going with this?

Ah. yes. Ariel.

See, Ariel used to be a sweet, bubbly character. She was also Connor’s ex-girlfriend. Ariel also used to be friends with Kelly, and I’m pretty sure she also played matchmaker.

Now? She ended up doing a 180 when I put her in Arrows. Gone was the sweet, bubbly friend who played matchmaker. In her place, there is now a vindictive, attention-seeking, manipulative…yet also hurting, woman who doesn’t like it when she doesn’t get her way.

(don’t we all)

ANYWAY

Why the change? What could this have brought to the plot? To the story?


Well, as much as I hate how she turned out, her personality change is a good thing:

  1. It reinforces how Connor has always loved Kelly.
  2. It builds the blocks for the future relationship and eventual marriage between Connor & Kelly.
  3. It plants another character directly on the path to redemption (in the sense that he realizes he’s becoming just like his father, which is his worst fear and though he falls massively, he does eventually get back onto the right path) (however, his story is only seen in the background here; but he does get a novella because…that’s how my side characters roll)
  4. Going back to that character, it teaches him quite a bit about discipline and the importance of only being romantically involved with another Christian. Along with something else, but I’ve spoiled enough already.
  5. It may also have an effect on Jack & Maggie, since they’re Connor’s parents and…no more spoilers.


So Ariel’s personality change was a good thing. Good in the sense that it:

  1. Directly influences the arcs of the other characters.
  2. Forces teaching moments into their faces by slapping them with discipline, which leads to them learning and growing, both as a person and as a child/sibling/potential significant other.

Sometimes, a personality change may need to be done to actually round a character out and make them ‘pop.’ This is probably what happened with Jonathan, because he was not always the grumpy hermit we love. Nope, at one time, he was the sweet gentle giant…okay, so he’s still a giant (not literally but to Nicki he may as well be bc he’s 6’5 and she’s only 5’2), still gentle (I bet you all are going to melt at the snowball scene), and he’s still sweet…

The difference is that it’s now hidden under the grumpy hermity-ness.

Other times, a personality change may be needed to make the story bloom even more than it already has. Changing Ariel’s personality has caused the story to bloom in more ways than one, including giving that one side character his own novella, and giving Connor & Kelly’s relationship more depth than it already had.

Ooh, now I’m getting an idea for another blog post…I think I could have some elements of Cinderella in Arrows…poor girl marries into rich family…3x…though technically the third time is really more of middle-class Cinderella marries middle-class Prince Charming, but middle-class Prince Charming is still descended from a rich family; he’s only middle-class because his dad, Prince Charming No. 2, decided he was going to live amongst the commoners. xD


Okaaaaaay, after that weird diversion from the topic at hand…tell me your thoughts! Have you switched a character’s personality?

Also, on a sidenote, beta signups for Arrows ends tomorrow night at midnight, Pacific Time!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdK32qyFynT_rRftJE4oeBCrbm_fHPdkV3QcpV0GIhqMMKxag/viewform?usp=sf_link

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