Impact Characters gone wrong!!!

by Terrell
(Columbia, MO)

Hey, is it possible for an impact character to influence the protagonist to a point that he/she actually does change in the end, but however, the impact was not like how the impact character intended?

For example, can a protagonist be a archetypal good guy and their impact character is more of an anti-hero; willing to do what is necessary to get the job done. However, when or if the protagonist changes his/her ideals to match the impact character, he/she instead takes it a step further and is much worse than the impact character and not exactly how the impact character wanted to influence them?

Answer: Technically, the main character's perception of the impact character and his interpretation of what the impact character is doing creates the pressure to change. Sometimes the impact character is trying to influence the main character. Sometimes he's just following his own agenda and the main character observes what the impact character does and responds entirely on his own. And sometimes the main character can misinterpret the impact character.

For instance, an interesting variation is the Hitchcock film Rope, in which a student who takes to heart the words of a former teacher and conspires to commit murder to prove his 'superiority.'

The student then invites the teacher to dinner and the bulk of the film consists of the student dropping hints about the murder. (We suspect he again is showing off his superiority and wants the teacher's approval once the murder is discovered.)

Of course, the teacher is horrified to see how he has unwittingly influenced his student (who probably suffers from sociopathology), and condemns rather condones his actions.

It's a variation because the film starts at the climax and really is just the fourth act of the story. However, it is an example of how a main character can be influenced by an impact character, even though the impact character had no intention of having such an influence.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero