Narrative Writing


Characters: Static vs. Dynamic

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of characters.

James Bond

Static Characters

Static characters don't change. They are the same on the last page of the novel as they are on the first.

Take, for example, James Bond, the main character of a series of novels by Ian Flemming. Bond is a British secret agent. He's smart, tough, witty, cool, and all the ladies love him. Every man wants to be James Bond. That's why we read James Bond novels. We don't want James Bond to change.

Ebenezer Scrooge

Dynamic Characters

Dynamic characters change. They go through a character arc (an inner journey). By the time we get to the end of the novel, they have become better, nicer, more confident versions of themselves.

Take, for example, Ebenezer Scrooge in the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. At the beginning of the novel, Scrooge is a greedy, cold-hearted man who hates Christmas. But the events of the novel force him to re-examine his life, and by the end of the novel he is generous and full of the Christmas spirit.

The inner journey that Scrooge goes through is just as exciting as anything else that takes place in the novel. And that's why we love novels with dynamic characters, too.

Plot-driven vs. Character-driven Novels

Novels with static characters depend on a fast-paced plot to keep you turning the pages. We call these novels plot-driven novels, because it is the plot that keeps things moving forward.

Novels with dynamic characters keep your attention by exploring the inner struggle of a person who is being forced to change. We call these novels character-driven novels. Usually, the conflict in these novels falls under the category of "Person vs. Self".

Instruction for the Quiz

Answer the questions.