Character Arcs

Analysis

Carnival Row Shows Us the Damage a Reveal Can Do

A main in Victorian getup stands next to a woman with fairy wings

One of the most common ways storytellers sabotage their stories is by working toward a clever reveal instead of giving their stories a solid foundation. Even when this problem is pointed out in a manuscript, it’s difficult to get writers to change it. They want … read more »

Storytelling

Reconciling Character Choices With Your Plot

A classic painting of two girls reading a book together.

Sometimes, the reactions we assign to characters in the outline stage don’t feel natural when written out. In these cases, it can be difficult to judge whether planned character behaviors are unrealistic or the storyteller just isn’t in the right mindset. Since character choices can … read more »

Storytelling

Depicting Characters Held Back by Fear

Edvard Munch's painting The Scream.

While it may look different for each of us, living life to the fullest is what we’re all striving to do. This universal desire for happiness is what causes us to follow our passions, develop rewarding relationships, and seek out experiences that help us feel … read more »

Q&A

How Do I Tell a Family Saga?

questions and answer talk bubbles

Hello. I’m working on an outline for a series where one of the themes I want to explore is the process of historical change. I’m still experimenting with how best to structure the story. One option is to structure it more or less conventionally, including … read more »

Analysis

Five Characters With Strong Arcs

Character arcs come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they fade seamlessly into the plot, but other times the characters go through major changes and become different people by the end. Both types of arc are valid, but it’s the second category we’re looking at … read more »

Analysis

Six Unsatisfying Character Arcs

Anakin looking out from under his hood with his yellow eyes in Revenge of the Sith.

Character arcs form the backbone of many a story. A successful upward arc fills the audience with fuzzy warmth, while a well-crafted downward arc delivers powerful pathos. But not all arcs are put together well. When a character’s change is rushed or unjustified, it often … read more »

Storytelling

Crafting a Redemption Arc for Your Villain

Character change brings a lot to our stories, but the more dramatic the change, the harder it is to craft. That’s why arcs that transition characters between good and evil are some of the most difficult but also the most rewarding. Previously, I’ve covered arcs … read more »

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