Write On SC

Character Arcs: The Moral Descent

Episode Summary

Originally recorded to air in December, 2021, this episode actually aired February 19, 2021. It follows the character arc discussion from back in the fall.

Episode Notes

Get the full original show notes here.

At the beginning of November, to help out our NaNoWriMo’ers, we did an episode on Character Arcs. In the third segment we briefly touched on the negative arc, or the moral descent. Here’s some notes from that episode:

The disillusionment (or negative change) arc, the character also believes a lie, is confronted with the truth and is able to overcome the lie, but the new truth — existence after accepting the truth — is tragic.

This is Michael Corleone. He believes himself to be good, to be righteous. But he is a criminal, a ruthless loyalist to his corrupt family. When he accepts this about himself, he is tragically doomed to lead the family after his father’s death.

This video calls this the “corruption arc” wherein the character has the truth, and is very aware of it, but as he is tested, he decides to exchange the truth for a lie — i.e. the Corleones must kill their enemies.

So what are the elements of the moral descent character arc? How do you know you’re in one?