This week, I discuss the Stages of Change. (Imagine an announcer saying this to the cadence of Pigs In Space!)
In Psychologyland (it’s near Mental Healthville…yeah, it’s that kind of day…), DiClemente and Prochaska outlined a step-wise process of how people go through change.
If human beings reacted in linear, logical fashion, it would look something like this:
- Pre-contemplation (No problems here—I drink a quart of vodka a day and I’m just fine.)
- Contemplation (Gee, a quart of vodka a day might be a little much. Maybe I’ll do something about it. I suppose I should.)
- Planning (I need to cut back on how much I drink, and here’s how I’m gonna do it.)
- Action (I’ve got my plan and now I’m cutting back/quitting drinking.)
- Maintenance (My plan is working. I’m not drinking.)
- Relapse (Whoops, fell off the wagon. Bumped my head. Ouch.)
People, of course, are not linear. Someone could progress through the stages and go back and forth, skip around, progress and stumble back, etc. In short, it’s called life, but that’s another post entirely.
How to translate this into writing?
Well, say you’ve got a character with a flaw. What are their thoughts about it? Do they embrace it? Do they hate themselves for it? Are they trying to change, but keep spinning their wheels or messing up? What about those around them? Do they complain about the character’s “quirk?”
Use these stages in identifying where your character is about a certain thing. It’ll help you determine how they’ll react to it and others who bring up the subject. It may even determine how they handle certain tension-filled situations or interactions with other characters.
Milk it people. There can be some great conflict building there!
Just sayin’. 😉
Now it’s your turn to share. What issue/vice/“dirty” habit is your character(s) engaged in and how do they feel/think about it?