Saturday, September 1, 2012

[Link] Character Arcs?

By C.S. Lakin

noah and rainbowOkay, I confess. I’ve never quite understood the use of the word arc when talking about plot and character. I keep picturing a big boat in a very heavy rainstorm. But seriously, even the image of an arc (shaped like a rainbow–which brings us back to the other ark . . . hmm) confuses me. For if you are creating a character arc showing some sort of progression of a character’s inner growth through your novel as a bow that goes up and then comes down, it feels to me as if the character didn’t go anywhere. So I have trouble using that term. 

A Journey, Not an Arc

However, I am concerned with character growth, and it’s a big, essential part of your story to take your protagonist on a journey (hopefully one of the heart) that starts in one places and ends up in another. Just as a literal journey can take us to new places where we see new things, so, too, a character taken on an inner journey should end up seeing new things about herself. (I have an easier time talking about this growth process in terms of journey instead of geometry terms; I wasn’t all that great in math).  So here’s another thing I find helpful when creating characters and working out the growth they’re going to experience by the end of the book.

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