Do you remember the two little brothers in Fiddler on the Roof? How the matchmaker already had her sights set on them? Well, this weekend I had the honor to hear a sermon from a little boy who played one of the younger brothers in a local production of Fiddler seventeen years ago. He was awesome! Wonderful sermon. And all I could think of was that this fine minister was once that little fellow holding the chuppah in the musical.
He’d grown up.
And oh, but the changes. His voice was deeper, his expressions different, his entire persona a completely different human being, except for the spirit. His eyes still shine, his smile still draws a person in, but is every bit as evident as that of the small guy with the wool village cap on his head, short pants, and adorable vest. I had to look twice to see his white collar under the robe. Was this really our friends’ son all grown up?
After coming home, I began to flip through the memories and images in my head. And I wondered how well we, as authors, do at allowing our characters to grow up. Do we see them the same even though they might age in our novels? Do we hear them the same? Or do we let them come alive in a more organic way? After much soul-searching, I realized what a hard time I have of letting my characters grow. Of letting them change along with their ages.
Do your characters grow? Do you allow them to do what everyone since the beginning of time began does? People grow up. And along with that comes the change in their demeanor, their voice, their insights. We must let our characters change and grow as well.