Character Growth: Seeing Fertile “Plots” from Barren Soil

Maybe it’s the weather – why I keep having this dream. No doubt after months of cold combined with little snow, I’m ready to see things sprout. Or, maybe it’s something more.

In this dream, I’ve been planting seeds in the wrong spaces, where I know deep down they won’t become the lush vines bearing fruit that I hope for. But I do it anyway. I dig a spot for a new seed and I find that I’ve already planted a seed in that very spot – and the planted seed is moldy. I hadn’t realized at the time that I was planting too deep, too shady, in soil that was too full of clay… and I was doing this over and over. While I waited for sprouts to come up I continued to plant this way until I filled an entire one-acre plot. I held the moldy seed in my hand… I looked around and all of the sudden, things looked different.

With the seed in hand, I looked up and there was a man sitting in front of me who had probably been there the whole time and I hadn’t noticed. The man was pointing at fertile land; he was pointing at the sun.

While this dream would probably give a psychoanalyst a juicy bit into my psyche, it made me think of the change that needs to happen in character driven work in order to allow for growth. Maybe that person is making the same mistakes with friends, maybe addictions are creating the same results over and over, maybe it’s the drain of a bad relationship in which they give and give, expecting different results each time they send a needy text. But how can things change when they keep planting in the same barren soil?

The big questing is: what does it take for our characters to change? How do they reach the turning point of finally being able to see the man pointing at the fertile land, at the sun?

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