How to write a character arc

How to write a character arc

A compelling character arc is what makes a favorite character or story. It is the path chosen by the character in a particular story and goes ahead to determine and reveal a lot. Learning how to write a great character arc is pivotal in getting a perfect story. In this article, we are going to learn how to write a character arc.

What Is a Character Arc?

A character arc can be explained as the path in which a character takes over the course of a particular story.

This usually entails adversity and challenges, as well as some changes to the character. Further advancements made by the character depends on the character’s purpose and the type of story at hand.

Types of Character Arcs With Examples

Below are the types of character arcs which and explanations to them:

Transformational Character arc:

A transformational arc is a character arc that sees a regular person transforming into a hero at the end.

Example:  Cinderella, Despite the cruelty of her jealous stepfamily, Cinderella remained kind and optimistic. Her faith and everlasting optimism manifested itself into a Fairy Godmother, whose magic served as a catalyst in transforming her eventually from from servant to princess.

Positive change arc:

This is where a character experiences positive change throughout the course of the story. They begin with negative mindsets or qualities but eventually transform into making a positive impact. A positive change arc is similar to a transformational arc but usually not quite as dramatic.

Example: In A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge starts out as a rich old miser consumed by greed. Over the course of our story, he comes to change his views and becomes a benevolent and charitable person.

Negative change arc:

This is where a character starts a story as a good person but later turns into a bad or evil person within the course of the story.

Example: An example here is Morgana of Merlin Fame. Morgana had a big heart and cared deeply for others but later, she became a victim of circumstances and she reacted to those circumstances poorly and eventually transformed to the opposite of what she was in the beginning being a threat with a negative impact.

Flat or static character arc:

A flat arc is a character arc that usually undergoes no significant change within the course of the story.

Example: In Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, Juliet’s mother is a flat character. Her main role in the play is to advance Paris as the man that Juliet should marry.

Also, In the Harry Potter series, Crabbe and Goyle are flat characters. They are Draco Malfoy’s Slytherin friends, but we do not learn much about them and they are just there to be his sidekicks.

How to write a character arc
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

How to Write a Character Arc

After understanding what character arcs mean and the different types, the next step is to now ponder over how to be able to write your own character arc.

To write a character arc, kindly follow the few steps or tips below:

Know and plan the role of your characters

Considering your characters and their roles is very important in setting out a good Foundation for your character arc. Every captivating story generally has a strong set of well fleshed out characters in addition to the protagonist. Knowing what role characters play in your story will help inform what character needs they have and what shape their arc will take.

Consider your genre:

 Genre often determines the fate of your character arcs. Let’s say you’re writing a tragedy, your protagonist will most likely undergo a negative arc—ending the story leaving a negative impact as compared to where they began. If you’re writing an inspirational story, you’ll probably have a character change that added value and followed a positive character arc.

Outline your story

Outlining your story is very important in writing a character arc. With this method, you are able to clearly determine the different character arcs and sort out their positions and functions before You begin. Knowing where an important plot point or turning point might be will help you map out a corresponding character arc as well.

Having these points addressed accordingly, you are now on your way to writing a captivating character arc.

Clifford Opoku-Antwi

Clifford Opoku-Antwi

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