Character development hinges on The Lie. You see, your hero needs to overcome something in his life. There needs to be some lie he believes that taints every part of his belief system, every action, and every thought process.
Example: In the movie Cinderella, she (Cinderella) believes the lie that she is not worthy of real love or family. She is just the servant, and she does her job while trying to find happiness and purpose in caring for the mice in the house, hopeful that one day she might be raised up as a true daughter.
The Lie must be confirmed by a Dark Moment. There must come a time when the lie your hero believes becomes reality. It is confirmed by circumstance or another characters words. This is the point when your hero resigns himself to the fact that the lie is true and lives accordingly.
Example: Cinderella is told she can attend the king's ball if she gets all her work finished and have something suitable to wear. She will be included with the family at last. Getting her work finished and decked out in a dress made by her animal friends, she joins her step-mother and step-sisters, only to be mauled by the sisters and left in tatters. She is rejected once again. She is not worthy.
The truth is hinted at. Somehow your hero needs to feel a hint of truth in their lives. They must begin to question the lie and wonder at the truth that is hinted at. Using a secondary character to do this is a great way to teach the truth.
Example: Cinderella's fairy godmother shows up and says she only needs one thing to go to the ball and enjoy the festivities. She just needs a dress...and a carriage, and livery, and so on and so on. She is worthy to go to the ball, with or without a family, and the fairy godmother is going to make sure she goes!
Another example is when the prince sends out servants with the glass slipper to find his future bride. He deems her worthy and is searching for her. She is filled with hope and excitement when she learns of this.
The Black Moment brings the Lie back into focus, forcing the hero to choose between believing the lie or choosing the truth. This is the the point of no return. It is the lowest of the lows and brings your hero to a point where he must choose. Does he believe the lie and sink back into his deluded life? Or does he choose to believe the truth, confronting the lie and pushing past it.
Example: When the servant with the glass slipper arrives at Cinderella's door, her step-mother locks her in the tower so that Cinderella couldn't claim the slipper (for the step-mother has discovered Cinderella is the one the prince is searching for). Cinderella could have just cried herself to sleep, resigned to the fact that the prince would eventually find someone who would fit into the slipper and live happily ever after. But no, she decides to fight and find a way to escape. She enlists the help of her mice friends and eventually is freed. In believing the truth that she is worthy, she has the confidence to run down the stairs in her tattered servant clothes and ask to try on the slipper. She is the one. She is worthy. She is now living in the truth.
Every book has a spiritual road, and every hero must travel on it. Whether it is a Christian book or a secular book, there is a spiritual/emotional journey that the characters experience. It is up to the the writer to give the characters the starting place and a final destination.
The Lie is the starting point. It is the basis of the journey, for the character must search for the truth and find it. That is the final destination - the Truth. It really will set them free...and satisfy your reader in the process.
What is the LIE your character believes? Why do they believe it?
Sherrinda is wife to "Pastor John" and mother to three giant sons and one gorgeous daughter. A born and bred Texan, she writes historical romance filled with fun, faith, and forever love.