But changing those things? Ah, now there's the rub.
In Think Like a Shrink, Emanuel Rosen's primer on 100 basic principles driving human personality, he discusses the limits of insight. Therapeutic relationships, whether with a professional counselor or an insightful friend, will only get you so far, he says. Why? Those insights are just a theory--a theory one is prone to resist--until some experience makes it real.
In other words, your story will fall flat if you stop at the point of realization for your character. She needs the further step of a new experience to test and perfect what she's learned. This new experience might happen during the climax or the denouement. But it must happen.
|photo: hotblack, morguefile.com|
So what will that new experience look like? That depends entirely on the character's flaw and how he or she is wired. A bold character should have a bolder healing experience than a quiet character does. Consider Ebenezer Scrooge's bodacious acts of generosity at the end of A Christmas Carol versus Pip's quiet reunion with Estella in Great Expectations.
A particularly stubborn character won't likely do a 180, but will take an incremental step toward the new pattern of behavior. Yet that small gesture--a sympathetic nod, a few coins in a tip jar, a mumbled "thanks"--can have big impact when it shows a new direction for your character.
How might moving from insight to action improve your story? What favorite books do this in a way that resonated with you long after you closed the covers?