Write On SC

Required Elements – Character Arcs

Episode Summary

On November 6, 2021 Kasie and Rex took on character arcs and how a protagonist’s journey is the reason we tell stories in the first place.

Episode Notes

Complete show notes out on the blog here.

Let’s get into this Character Arc thing. So I found this tweet and YouTube clip that talks about Rick’s character in Casablanca and how at each point of the character arc, one character comments on how Rick is changing. Sometimes it’s even Rick himself. And I thought, “Have we ever done character arcs?” and the answer is, “no.”

So here we go. What is a character arc and what are some examples of types? This link will be of use.

The character arc is how the character changes over time and is linear — it has a beginning, middle, and end — but does not have to follow the plot arc.

Four basic types:

  1. Positive change (moral ascent)
  2. Transformational (hero’s journey — might include ups and downs)
  3. Negative change (moral descent)
  4. Flat
  5. Open-ended

The lie your character believes about themself will be the thing they fight against and ultimately overcome to end the story. We covered this extensively in the core wound episode

Character arcs are the whole purpose of fiction. The change that a character makes is the reason the story exists. Without change, there is no story. And change creates drama (tension) and that creates meaning.