By: K.M. Weiland
People hate change. We may sit around and wish our lives were different, but when the rubber really starts streaking the tarmac, we usually find ourselves wishing we could just hang out here in our safe and familiar haunts.
Characters are no different. They resist change just as staunchly as any of us—which is a good thing. Out of resistance comes conflict; out of conflict comes plot. This is just the first of many ways in which plot and character arcs are inextricable from one another. As Stanley Williams so
aptly explains it in his book The Moral Premise:
A good way to conceive of movie stories, like Die Hard and Love, Actually, is to think of the visible story as the metaphor for the invisible story.
In other words, the plot is all about the character’s inner journey, whether the connection is immediately evident or not. Plot, in its simplest manifestation, is all about the protagonist’s thwarted goal. He wants something, and he can’t have it right away, so he keeps right on trying.
The Change Arc, at its simplest manifestation, is all about the protagonist’s changing priorities. He realizes the reason he’s not getting what he wants in the plot is because either a) he wants the wrong thing or b) his moral methods for achieving what he wants are all wrong. In Dramatica, Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley point out:
One of the most common mistakes made by authors of every level of experience is to create a problem for their Main Character that has nothing to do with the story at large. The reasoning behind this is not to separate the two, but usually occurs because an author works out a story and then realizes that he has not made it personal enough.
The Lie the Character Believes
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If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
- Amy Sullivan: 45 Ways to Help Your Favorite Authors Sell More Books http://ow.ly/tR61T
- Pricing Your Indie Book Correctly | IRC 2014 – Indie Romance Convention http://ow.ly/tRIBE
- Creating Stunning Character Arcs, Pt. 2: The Lie Your Character Believes - Helping Writers Become Authors http://ow.ly/tRNMa
- The rise of the literary anti-heroine » MobyLives http://ow.ly/tRNWW
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- Word for Word: Don’t buy the myth about ebook slump - Book News | http://ow.ly/tRRoj
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- Hugh Howey and the Indie Author Revolt http://ow.ly/tSdS3 Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords offers his two cents