Character Development Like Beauty And The Beast

A 5 minute pre-write idea

Maya Bechi, M.Ed

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Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

The intensity of contrasting symbols adds the greatest spark and drama for any storyline. Sometimes, an overview of a well-known story can provide a strong example for writers. So, we will take “Beauty and the Beast”. This is a classic fairy tale that has variations in differing cultures. The version from the 18th century, written by a French novelist, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont is a famous one. This fairy tale provides more than elements of magic, we also see the strength and fragility of love, inner beauty, growth and transformation. When you take a few extra steps to consider the way it is crafted, you are able to identify… power.

The story can be seen as an allegory for the transformative power of love. The Beast’s outward appearance reflects his inner nature. This description is obvious and disarming and predictable which leads a reader very nicely into the more complex demonstration of power. As the story progresses, we embark on the journey of uncovering how he became this way and what it takes to finally dismantle it all. Here is where we can see the strength of using contrasting symbols. The use of a rose is an unlikely example of power. It is used to demonstrate the humanity of the Beast, time limits and fragility. As the reader, we could also take it a step further and see the rose as the power of inner beauty and what can happen when there is a failure to recognize it because the outer appearance is a distraction.

These simple devices collectively contribute to the mass appeal of a timeless fairy tale and is easy enough to practice. Choose a theme from the human experience and give the character an obvious matching characteristic. Then, develop a short timeline that will include the character’s journey with a contrasting example of that theme. For an added example, we can use Thanos, a Marvel character. His story was about wielding power, he looked like a rock and his relinquishing of power was symbolized using his daughter, Gamora, and his explanation for wanting power and a simple snap.

Try it out for your next draft.

Published 11/29/23 9:21pm CST

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Maya Bechi, M.Ed

Perfectly imperfect. A myriad of musings, research and writings. Educator, Indie Publisher, Supportive Human. Look me up. www.robsonandpuritan.com