Why Character Arcs Can Save Your Story Pt. 1

Writing is a road of discovery.

Everything that was ever written was first discovered, whether that process takes years, months or flying by the seat of your pants, your story must be unearthed and one of the ways to do that is to plug plot holes and you can do that by writing your character’s story arc. I started reading a great blog series on the topic by K.M. Weiland called Creating Stunning Character Arcs and I was blown away by the holes that were revealed in my own writing and the creative process on how to fill them.

*Now let me say this, K.M. believes in outlining – as do I but this series works whether you are a outliner or a pantser.

Identify the Type of Arc

Your character will normally have one of the three following arc’s and this will predetermine their path throughout the story; think of it like a prophecy.

  1. the Change Arc: The Character is destined to change from how he was at the beginning of the story. That change must cause the character to evolve throughout the story.
  2. the Flat Arc: This character does not typically change throughout the story – they can be the inspiration for change but they themselves will be consistent throughout the work.
  3. the Negative Arc: This arc is the flip side to the Change Arc, instead of the characters changing for the better things only get worse and by the end of the story they are worse off then when the story began.

Each arc has a common pattern that determines the characters path – don’t be afraid of this pattern learn it so you can discover where your character is different and let that path become your own.

Powerful Lies

In every story that contains the Change Arc there is always something that the character believes that is in some way or another misguided and this my friend is alluding to the Lie that Your Character Believes. This Lie is powerful, because it can shape the way that your character reacts and lives with in their world. It starts with an internal desire that needs to be filled and because of the lack your character’s actions are misguided through most of the story until they are changed through the Lie being answered.

Stay with me there is more next week! To be continued…


Read from K.M. Weiland




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