• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Pretty Little One That I Adore



I’ve always wondered what people really mean by character development. As far as I’m concerned, a character must be whole from the first sentence. What am I not getting? I don’t really want to see anyone “grow.” I’m not interested in any “reveals.” I could give a shit if a character changes. Editor are obsessed with this notion. I want characters who wear hats, or fuck bunnies, or write letters, or throw curveballs, or hand over the money from the till. I want nothing. I want fear. I love chipped teeth and belt buckles in the shape of buckles. Serving tea, a windsor knot, a college rejection, the back seat of Monte Carlo. I don’t want my characters to learn any lessons, let alone that life is worth it or filled with joy.

What is character development anyway?

4 Responses

  1. You are who you are, right?

    I’ve always thought character development meant the writer has him/her fully realized in their head. I.e., developed, ready to hit the page and show the world the eye that drifts a little to the left, and the twitchy hands. It’s simply our job, as writers to introduce them to the reader, bit by bit.

    I could go on here and say something writerly like, “sometimes they keep introducing themselves to us,” except, in reality, that’s just a better idea, twist, or way to tell the story our brains suddenly discover as we go along.

  2. “What is character development anyway?”

    I’m glad to learn I’m not the only writer who’s wondered that. Just the other day I was rifling my files, looking for something to submit to a litmag whose guidelines said they were looking for stories with character development. I took that to mean that they prefer traditional stories with named individuals in recognizable locations, possibly discoursing with other named individuals in recognizable locations, at least one of which named individuals must undergo or experience an internal change or shift or fuck all an apoplectic fit for all I know before THE END is reached.

    I honestly don’t know. I tell stories, and you know how that goes — stories tell themselves through me. I’m the hose, they’re the water. And there aren’t any characters, anyway; there are only words on the page (or these days, the screen).

  3. i think the character development occurs through the telling of the story. i’m thinking it’s for the readers enlightenment versus the characters, but i could be wrong.

    e.g. Morgan Leafy in A GOOD MAN IN AFRICA. i doubt Morgan is aware of any changes in his character but the readers glimpse a possibility of goodness in a dislikable man.

  4. You didn’t “get” the bridge ladies, and then you did. That’s character development–awareness changes, and you see differently, judge differently, do differently.

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