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Character types according to Nancy Kress
Friday, November 30, 2012

In Writer’s Digest November/December 2012 there is a quite interesting article about character motivation.

According to Nancy Kress there are four types of characters:

  • Characters who never change.
  • Characters who does not change, but what they want change.
  • Characters who change, but their motivation remains.
  • Characters who change, and their motivation changes.

The first I thought was ridiculous. Of course a character must change. Then I read an example: James Bond. Oh la la. Well, I guess it can work with characters that do not change after all.

Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Brontë) is an example of the second type. I’ve never thought about it, but she is very much the same throughout the story.

The last two are of the kind I thought every character in any decent story was, but I must admit I was wrong. When I think about it even more, there are more stories where the character does not change, than those where he or she does. Most stories are not about inner conflicts, but outer.

I’ve written for movies so long that I’ve completely forgotten that there are plenty of more things to tell than just internal growth and insight. I think I’ve stepped onto an interesting path in my life when I started to write other things than movie scripts.

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