Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Characters' Arcs ~ Pt. 2 of the Write it Right Series

   My previous post in this series dealt with who your characters were and are. This post is about who they will be. How a character changes is called their arc, and there are three basic kinds.


Positive Arcs: Think Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers

From the worst member of the fellowship
to our first heartfelt lost
Y'all have to admit, that's a powerful arc. These arcs are great for protagonists, but try to avoid cliches.

Negative Arcs: Think Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars.

From innocent boy to
cold killer

Still a powerful arc, but in the opposite way. These aren't as natural to to write as their positive counterparts, but very interesting!

Flat Arcs: Think Sam in Lord of the Rings.

The sum of Sam

Steadfast and courageous, but he doesn't change much. Instead, his role is helping "Mr. Frodo" change. These are easy to default to (writer's confession: I had till recently in one character), but harder to make work.

Your character's arc will probably come from the questions "What do they fear?" and "What do they want most?". Most characters only get one arcs, but it is possible for more than that. This adds interest to both the character and the book.
   For instance, Priss in my WIP Inkling Adventures has a double arc, mainly because I originally wrote it as two books. Her first arc is positive, but her second is negative. The negative one.... I'm still working out some kinks.
   Your character arcs are important, but you don't have to consciously choose them. I tend to write the first draft and just see what happens. Then I improve on whatever happened naturally. But that's just what works for me.
   For you, it may be something incredibly different. Is it? If so, I'd love to hear about it!


P.S. I know my advice isn't much. Check this site for much better advice. K. M. Weiland has a whole book on arcs.

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