Character Redemption Arcs
How do you redeem a character who's done unspeakable things in canon? I've been noodling this for a while because I have a redemption arc in my QB project. Honestly, it's a new thing as I'm perfectly content often to let terrible characters continue to be terrible in my work. But there is more than one theme in play when it comes to redemption.
Redemption - the action of saving or being saved from sin, error or evil
Repent - feel or express sincere regret or remorse for one's wrongdoing or sin
Forgiveness - the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.
Absolution - formal release from guilt, obligation, or punishment.
There is a psychological process at play that I think some writers overlook in the redemption arc. What drives a character to make such sweeping changes to their behavior? What changes their goals? What's the catalyst?
A big change without a clearly defined motive would be empty and ultimately unrewarding to read.
But ultimately, actions speak louder than words, right? That's why it's important (for me) to see a character prove their intent with their actions. Incidentally, this is why I never bought into Snape's "redemption". He was horrible and abusive. He made no effort whatsoever to be a better person.
We're discussing this topic in the Writer's Table on Facebook as well.
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