Do-ers & Be-ers

A Writer Asks…

Can a “do-er” change to a “be-er” over the course of the story (and vice <> versa). Also, I’m having a problem changing one character from be-er to do-er at my particular stage of story encoding (seems I’m locked in)

My Reply…

The choice of do-er or be-er describes the Main Character’s preference – not necessarily what circumstances allow him or her. So, although a character will maintain their preference throughout the story, they may be forced to act in quite the opposite way.

For example, a do-er in an Action story will be right at home, manipulating the environment which is just what is needed. But, a do-er in a Decision story will be like a fish out of water, always trying to take action to resolve obstacles when what is needed is internal work to set an example or adopt an attitude. Such a character will try to resolve things in his or her preferential way until, as a last resort he or she may give in and work at it in the other, uncomfortable way.

So, any character can respond either as a do-er or be-er at any point in the story, but it is important the audience know what the character’s preference is in order to understand the kinds of pressures the character is going through.