The other night I heard a guest speaker on CNN tell America they shouldn’t worry about terrorism. Once again it looks like history will repeat itself. Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.” Jesus Christ wanted everyone to turn the other cheek. Martin Luther King Jr. preached tolerance, peace, and unification. The end result for the aforementioned: a beheading, a crucifixion, and a raging bullet. Albeit, Marie was a spoiled child and will never be in the same league with Jesus and Martin, but the point being they all perished at the hands of Change. Change? The former queen of France wanted to keep the people in their place by selfish means. Hence, the French Revolution ignited beyond her smug expectations. The people wanted Change. Jesus Christ performed miracles, spoke eloquently, and inspired millions giving rise to a New Testament. He inspired a new religion, Christianity. Then Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream of a colorblind world. Now we have an African American President in the Whitehouse, who by the way, campaigned on “A Change You Can Believe In.”
So why do I bring up the topic of Change? Since your protagonist has to undergo some form of significant change, it’s best that you provide ample opportunity through plotting, to assist your character in the ultimate transformation. Imagine a Priest who preaches turning the other cheek but when he gets beat to a pulp and witnesses a nun get raped, he suddenly finds himself questioning his ideals. Perhaps, on his road to recovery, he decides to pump iron, learn how to shoot a firearm, and kick some bad guy tail. I can see Clint Eastwood in this role. ;-)
So next time you’re stuck and find your story going nowhere, think about how change, not necessarily drastic, can help you squeeze some quality action out of your characters. If the focus on character doesn’t help, change the setting. How would the vengeful priest do behind bars? How would he handle being thrown in a tank with sharks and a butter knife?
Make sure your Change serves a useful purpose and be prepared for an entertaining ride.