One of the vital aspects of any story is its protagonist. For a story to work, it is mandatory that the protagonist undergoes a change. Occasionally, it’s a major growth or even a complete overhaul, but more often, it’s a minor alteration in the character’s attitude.
The only exceptions to this rule are mystery series featuring the same hero. Poirot didn’t change in all his stories, only in rare few. The same is true about Sherlock Holmes or some others of our beloved detectives. Sometimes, it even works. More often, such an approach leads to a series stagnation after a few installments.
In many children or YA stories, the change is obvious: a child or a teenager grows up and learns a lesson. There are thousands of such stories. In adult fiction, the change is usually more subtle. It could be a politician switching his opinion, or a bitter divorcee giving love a second chance, or a disillusioned policeman learning to trust again. In all those cases, to achieve his goal, to find what he is searching for, the protagonist needs to change.
My fantasy short story THAT PESKY MAGIC is a growing-up story. The protagonist is a teenage boy who’s just discovered his magic. Of course he changes in the course of the story. He learns to deal with his unruly magic and makes mistakes in the process – a classic apprentice tale. If he doesn’t change, doesn’t learn to control his magic, it might destroy him. This story was the first story of mine accepted for publication by a magazine. It was published in 2007. I tried to make it funny, to employ humor in both the mistakes and the solutions to the protagonist’s problems. If you’re curious how it came out, you can read the story here.
My science fiction short story MACCARVER PIROUETTE is much more mature. It deals with a ballet star who can’t dance after a severe trauma. His magnetic personality needs an outlet for his creativity, but he doesn’t see a future without dancing, only a bleak black hole. Could he find a new way? Could he change that much? Maybe on a new planet? To learn about him, read the story here.