Friday, March 9, 2012

Character Arcs

In my study of writing, I learned about character arcs.  Ever heard of them?  Here's a brief tutorial.  

Comparing the Paradigms for Character Change

Each paradigm comes with different requirements and different key moments that your plot must provide.

Required Characters

  • Main Character Alone: In the Hero’s Journey, it’s a lonely quest where the main character changes him/herself. Yes, there are supporting characters, but they are secondary to the internal arc.
  • Friends: The Friendship arc requires two people who appear to be polar opposites, but eventually change each other.
  • Either: In the Dysfunctional arc, you can feature another character, or it can be against a situation or event.

Key moments:

  • Fears. Hero’s Journey requires an Inmost Cave, the moment when the character faces his/her worst fears and comes out changed.
  • Difficult Relationship. The Friends arc requires a blow-up in a relationship, with some compelling reason to later recommit to that relationship.
  • Coping. The Dysfunctional arc has that moment when the dysfunctional coping crosses paths with the functional coping and one takes precedence over the other.

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