In all of my readings on being a writer, I came across this interesting term: Flat character: A flat character is a minor character in a work of fiction who does not undergo substantial change or growth in the course of a story. I found that concept highly intriguing, mainly because most of the characters in books are flat characters. The hero/heroine/villain/villainess usually does make changes or shows growth--either for the better or worse--but all books are populated with flat, two-dimensional characters who wander into the story for a single page or two before wandering their way back out. Now, why am I talking about flat characters? Simple: I--and my main characters--have an unexplainable fear of being a flat character. Human nature tends to decay, which means that unless we're striving to make progress, change, and grow, we're slowly declining and slipping down the slope that is life. But trying to always do more and be better is f***ing exhausting! It's tiring to spend your whole life trying to be better and do more, so sometimes you need to just let things go for a while. Which brings me back to my fear of being a flat character. Basically, if I don't keep struggling and trying and fighting to succeed, I'm going to be one of those flat characters that wander in and out of great stories--never truly having a great story of their own. Do I want to be one of those thugs who gets beaten up by the heroes? Do I want to be Admiral Motti to be choked by Darth Vader? Do I want to be the strumpet who makes the heroine's life difficult and who is left to rot in the whorehouse once the prince carries away said heroine? They say to "be the hero of your own story", but a hero cannot be a flat character. You can't be a hero if you don't make progress, so does that mean we are forever doomed to struggle against what is fundamentally ourselves? It's almost like I'm trapped in my "flatness". Having suppressed emotions and feelings for so many years, it's SO difficult to try to make progress in the emotional side of things. I'm great with the physical stuff, but I feel that emotional/mental growth is the only true form of growth. After all, I can pack on the pounds of muscle, pretend to be perpetually happy, or spawn children, but unless I make progress, I can never truly be happy--an emotional and mental state, not a physical state. Perhaps it's that perpetual struggle that makes me the hero of my own story. I have to constantly fight my own human nature, just like the half-demon assassin in Hero of Darkness has to fight the demonic blood running through his veins. He too struggles with the fear of being a flat character, which is appropriate considering just how much trouble I'm having with this issue. So for now, I'm going to keep struggling with my emotional and mental issues, eternally striving for the growth and progress that takes me out of the realm of "flat character" and transforms me into the ever-flawed, supremely human "hero".