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ButtercupSaiyan

A thought experiment on character growth and appeal

Hey, there, here's one. I always talk about myself in these journals or some vague topic, so let's make it even more metaphorical, philosophical and vague because I don't want to talk about me all day.

Also, I am tired of seeing inane updates in my journal feed.

So here's a thought experiment, for the virgins as well as the experienced: Picture your ideal lover. Think about physical traits, mental traits and spiritual/personality traits ... begin changing them. At which point do you balk and go, "I would never be attracted to that, or we wouldn't be compatible!"

Can you picture them in your mind? It doesn't have to be one kind of person or quality that you think would be appealing.

Good. Take that and forget it because real people are loads more complicated and interesting than any fiction we can make up. That entire concept is useless. Wherever you balked at, you stopped too soon. Whether this prospect intimidates you, excites you, challenges you or makes you sad to think there is no perfect person depends on your overall outlook.

Let's start over with the actual one:

Picture, instead, the person you want to be two weeks from now. Just assume that you have the strength of will to enact changes in your life and in yourself. What qualities have you pictured for yourself and what do you want to change the most?

Those qualities are the ones that matter, not for you but for the people you relate to. Whether it's family, friendship or romance, those qualities will be the get-alongness part of how you socialize, the qualities that you wish you had or are working on improving.

Try this one on for size: Character growth is essential to any written story, but how do you do it real life and try to push the plot forward?
Viewed: 69 times
Added: 7 years, 3 months ago
 
liontaro
7 years, 3 months ago
i don't care about the look of my ideal lover. as long as we have very much in common and share the same feelings it's all fine to me >w>
jakeheritagu
7 years, 3 months ago
Ideal lover: Someone who loves me and I love them.
Where I balk: when that love becomes hate.

I admit to needing something more then just love, common interests a must and I have certain things I prefer when it comes to physical looks, but I've found that I can grow to love someone physically if there personality is good enough. Personality can make up for any problems physically. But my key point is, if you love me I can love you and that's what I need. Beyond that there is no true 'ideal'. I can put up with a lot of complexity of the human psyche, I'm a very patient man and can even wait years (and have before) for a girl I love so long as I think they still love me. It's only once I feel the love is lost that I move on and look for more love.

And character growth in real life is a testament to your will. You have instinctual urges built up from your life, reactions you've obtained from your life experiences that are ingrained into you. To change them into something you prefer means you have to be mentally aware that you're doing this part of yourself that you dislike for any reason, and then focus on making yourself stop. If its truly your will to do so, you can make it happen as I have done so in the past. However, if you lack the will you will never make the change. The plot will continue forward in real life, no matter how much or how little character growth you go through. In real life what pushes the plot forward is time, not the characters.

 However, how interesting you decide to make the time you have is up to you, filling it with the most fun that can be had is the way that I spend my time.
ShadowsInc
7 years, 3 months ago
I'll agree that real people are much more "complicated", but not so much "interesting"... That's more of a subjective view. (so is "complicated", just to a lesser extent.)

As for changing myself in two weeks... I don't think I want to. I don't really feel the need to change at all in any way very soon.

(PS My life has as many loop-holes, contradictions, and absurdities as the "Holy Scriptures" :3)
Arious
7 years, 3 months ago
An interesting but futile gesture.  I fall in love with a person because of their flaws.  The contradictions in a life lived trying to change a person from what they are is the contradiction which unmakes you as your making the attempt to change them.  I am patience personified and can live with almost anything.  Except maybe a deliberate murderer.  That I don't think I could live with.  along with a few other things in that same realm of self destruction.  I also couldn't deal with loving a drug addict as that habit eats both the person with it and all those around them.  Love isn't trying to change others its learning to accept and coexist with them without losing your self.  It is a melding of equals to create something else entirely and still being able to be simply yourself.
slightlyshade
7 years, 3 months ago
Character growth comes from getting off your butt and changing the things you want changed and by life experiences. If you sit around and wait for something to happen you'll always be an inch away from being who you want to be and will just end with a lot of plans. The reality is though, that by making small steps forward you also rechart the destination because of your progressed perspective.

For example, getting off your butt and actually writing that novel you always wanted might help you realise you don't need to create a bestseller to be happy.
Saglinger
7 years, 3 months ago
Given my lack of love experience, I don't really have an ideal.  The only thing that really concerns me is whether or not a girl takes care of her health
merlynn
7 years, 3 months ago
Ok,I'll bite. Consider Batman. One of the most popular comic book characters in existence. And yet,very little changes with him. He's always Bruce Wayne who's fighting to avenge his parents and blah blah blah. He never grows. He never changes. But he remains popular. Everyone likes Batman on some level.

Is character growth good? Usually,but not always. Some characters are who they are who they are. Some characters don't need to grow. Because at some point,they have to grow old. And no one likes contemplating that concept. That at some point,we peak and then it's all down hill from there. The double edged sword of growth,if you will.

Then there's growth for the sake of growth. Where we're forced to focus on a character for too long for too little pay off. A lot of "chick flicks" seem to take this route. Dragging the viewer through one over dramatic bullshit sequence after another until you feel nothing but contempt for this weaselly little bitch who seems intent on making mountain out of molehills and doesn't have a single real god damn problem except she doesn't seem to get everything she wants when she wants it.

And finally,we have bad growth. Linkara,of That Guy With the Glasses,recently reviewed "Cry for Justice",a horrible comic where Roy "Arsenal" Harper loses his arm and his daughter for the sake of cheap tragedy. This resulted in a follow up called "Rise of Arsenal" which is handled just as badly as the first comic. The whole already reeks of "downward spiral",which will probably end up with Roy becoming a "hardcore badass" who will do all kinds of "horrible things". Like actually killing murderous assholes to stop them from ever killing again.

This kind of thing is pretty much a 10 car pile up of stupid. The tragedy occurs in a book that'll probably be retconned to bejeezus and back,it lacks any kind of punch,and it robs Roy of a much better form of character development as a single parent and superhero. No,instead,we have cheap drama as everyone screams at each other about how they "failed to protect her" and shit. This kind of growth,basically a horrible misstep,is usually the kind that happens most often. Remember when Wonder Woman lost her powers? Retconned. Remember when Hal Jordan turned evil? Nope,mind control. Remember when Batman died? Any of the times Batman died? Nope,didn't really die. And nothing ever comes from any of these things. Why? Cause the fans hated it.

So it's not just about growing,it's about growing in a way that's believable and logical. It's all about moving the story forward. It's not just the characters,it's the characters and how they interact with each other. It's the events and circumstances around them and how they all act and react. But the best characters are ones people can relate to. That they can understand and sympathize with. A good character is a character who has clear motivations and understandable reactions. Something to think about.
DMajorBoss
7 years, 3 months ago
This reminds me of the type of experiment done in one of my college classes, actually.  The irony is that, even at my most basic of want or need, finding that would be very difficult still.  Heck, I can't even get some friends of mine to actually listen to me or give a care about me; finding a mate like that would be an incredible feat indeed!

Not impossible, just incredible.

If anything, people today rarely try anymore...if anything, they'll go on to the next thing or the next person if the current essence isn't being felt properly.  In fiction, you can make them what you want and how you want; in real life, you either search long and hard or take what you can get.

I already know most of what I want and a bit of what I need.  If I can find someone who gets close to that, I think I can be happy.
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