Watching a character grow over time, as she learns to overcome a fear or bitterness, sadness or insecurity, is suspenseful. Our audience wonders if she will be able to overcome the anger from her childhood, or if she will learn to trust herself in the end. As the pages turn, the reader remains anxious to see what she will do next, eager to see her outcome. And eager to see how it will make herself feel.
If you plant a seed and water it you will see it grow. Will it develop into a sunflower, tall and bright and strong, swaying steadily in the summer breeze? Or will it grow into a relentless vine of poison ivy, hiding under the trees, tricking us into rubbing against it, to receive its pain. Which will our seed become?
When we, as writers, plant the seed of our story ,watering it with our words, we watch it develop over time, working hard to make sure that it survives the storms of our self doubts, that it thrives under the sunshine of our creativity and perseverance. Whether it starts out with flaws, thorns sprouting on its stalks as obstacles to overcome or without blemish, perfectly shaped and smoothed, unprepared for a potential downfall, we hope our readers remain loyal, turning the pages eagerly. Wanting to know how it will turn out, which plant it will grow into, our readers must dangle in suspense.
Our characters, like our readers and like people in general, are born, nourished and grow. They journey through hardships and happiness, developing continuously, making mistakes and producing successes as they go. And for those of us who watch them, whether it be the family and friends of a person, or the readers of our character, feeling the suspense keeps our blood running and our hopes up. And like the sunflower and the poison ivy who are watered and nourished along the way, our characters will become who they are meant to be, joyful or painful, blossoming in their own unique beauty for everyone to see.