Character Arcs

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

Depicting Internal Conflicts

External conflicts are obvious to the audience and easy for storytellers to conceptualize. The hero either defeats the villain or they get beat; they either convince the jury or they are thrown in jail. But while these conflicts are usually the first thing that new storytellers reach … read more »

Storytelling

How to Craft a Character-Driven Story

Lady Macbeth telling her husband what's what.

Some stories focus on big external conflicts to drive them and use a relatively blank protagonist as the audience’s vessel. But others try to make the protagonist as vivid as possible, trusting them to drive the story. The character has some intense desire or critical … read more »

Storytelling

The Why & How of Character Motivation

A critical part of developing any character is giving them motivation. Unfortunately, that’s not always as simple as it seems. The motivation has to be compelling and believable while working with the story at large. Let’s talk more about motivation and how you can get it … read more »

Storytelling

Creating Your Villain’s Journey

The Operative from Serenity holding up his sword

Most character arcs are intended for protagonists, and viewpoint characters in particular. But a story can be greatly enhanced by giving arcs to other major characters – including the main villain. Unfortunately, villain arcs can be tricky. The audience rarely sympathizes with the big bad, … read more »

Analysis

Five Failed Character Arcs

Character arcs form the heart of the story. They give audiences a reason to cheer a character on and add emotional depth to the plot. But not all characters arcs are equal. A good arc doesn’t just take a pauper and make her queen; it … read more »