Inner Values

In the movie The Intern, 70-year-old Ben Whittaker comes out of retirement as part of a program to diversify the work force at an online shopping site. He is forced to learn various computer usages, such as social media and email. The one thing that is most impressive about Ben is that he stays true to his values.

Is this a good thing or not? If characters are meant to be ever-changing due to life’s experiences, shouldn’t Ben have been altered, even in some small way? Or is it a strength to remain the same no matter what life throws at you?

This is something that you will have to explore with your characters. A static character might seem flat and boringly predictable. But is this something that gives comfort? Everyone needs a feel-good story; one in which the protagonist goes through challenging situations, but comes out still positive and strong at the end.

Your job is to take one of your characters and write part of her story. Give her challenging experiences that threaten to change her values, but at the end of that scene, she stands tall in her essential beliefs.

Go back and reread. How does this make you feel? Is it comforting to see that he is able to survive, intact? Or does it bother you? Would like prefer to see a learning experience in which he takes something out of his trials that alters his values somewhat?

If you want change, then rewrite the same scene. Reread. Explore your feelings toward the piece.

At the end of this process, you will have learned something about yourself as a reader which can then be applied to your writing.

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