Growing up I mainly saw failure as the end of my goal, the end of achieving the things I wanted, meaning that once I failed, that was it. No second chances, no do overs, just a heavy weight of sadness at realising that my dream was over.
As the years passed and I fell deeper into my writing, I realised that was far from true. My dreams were still there, still waiting for me to turn fiction into reality. Yes, failing sucked. Failing hurt, but my failings were also some of my greatest teachers. I just wasn’t paying attention at the time.
Character Development and Redemption Arcs
When it comes to writing character development, I love redemption arcs. A few characters in modern media are my favorite because of their redemption arcs such as Aang and Zuko in Avatar The Last Airbender, Tony Stark in Iron Man and Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins.
I enjoy writing a lot more about a villain or an antagonist who becomes a hero, or a hero who felt they failed at one point and are trying to redeem themselves. There is something about creating an internal conflict within a character that feels more compelling, and if the conflict gets resolved, more emotionally satisfying.
Now, these are not the only types of redemption arcs to exist and a character can even fail their redemption arc. Tim Hickson, who has an amazing youtube channel called Hello Future Me, covers this topic. I recommend checking it out.
It’s More Than Just Creating Compelling Characters
The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt through a character’s redemption, whether it’d be through characters in other media or through the characters I’ve written, is that making mistakes or failing does not mean the end, rather it is a stepping stone, a crucial part in the process to reach their goal.
Learning this lesson changed how I saw the failures in my own life, from failing subjects in school or university, to the manuscript of my first novel being rejected. Was it a disheartening experience? Yes. Did I feel like a failure? I did. Did I let that stop me from chasing my dreams? Heck no. Instead I asked myself questions.
Why did I fail? What went wrong? Where can I improve? How can I improve? What can I learn from this?
By having the mindset that failures are part of the journey, that they are indeed great teachers if I listen to them, I felt I have achieved more things in my life compared to when I used to see failure as the end. It’s not just me either. Many successful people say the same thing about failure time…
So if I make mistakes and continue to fail over and over again, it’s okay. I know that it doesn’t have to be the end. I know that I can keep going. More importantly, I know that I can keep learning and keep growing.
Thank you again for reading this post. I want to say a big thank you to those who have liked my previous ones and who have also started following me. It means so much that people are enjoying my content.