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Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development
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message 1: by Chrys (last edited May 20, 2020 09:05AM) (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) Discussion for Creating Character Arcs by K. M. Weiland.

Hello Writers and Readers!

From now on we will hold all book discussions in one spot.

If you posted a review of Creating Character Arcs, please feel free to share it here.

Let us know your overall thoughts.

You can also answer the optional questions.

And we encourage you to reply to comments or ask your own questions to create a conversation.


Let's have some fun!


You can use your current work-in-progress to answer questions 1 and 2.


1. My favorite Character Arc question is what lie does your character believe? That was the first chapter of the book. K. M. Weiland says, "In order for your character to evolve in a positive way, he has to start out with something lacking in his life, some reason that makes the change necessary.” So, what lies do you let your character believe? Example?



2. Thinking cause and effect, let's talk about the character's ghost from Chapter 3. Why does your character believe the lie? What is in his past that created this false belief? Do you use this when you write character arcs? Do you think about it that far out?



3. I think chapter 21 “How can I figure out what my character’s arc should be?” was the best of the latter chapters in summarizing the importance of this book. Have you ever started a character out on one path and later had to do rewrites to get them on a better or “the correct” path?



4. I don’t think I’ve ever written a clear Negative Change Arc but am excited about the prospect. Which character arc do you think would be the greatest challenge to write?



5. Before you read this book, did you actively figure out character arcs (your character’s personal growth) before/during the writing process?

(To dig deeper into this question: Did the character’s arc come naturally to you, did you struggle with it, or is it something you now realize you need to work on?)


DEFINITIONS:

Positive Change Arc - by the end, the protagonist changes in a positive way

Negative Change Arc - the protagonist ends in a worse state than where he/she began

Flat Arc - the protagonist is already a hero and doesn’t require personal growth but may spark growth in minor characters


message 2: by Toi, Book Club Admin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Toi Thomas (toithomas) | 79 comments See my 4.25 review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
1. My favorite Character Arc question is what lie does your character believe?
In one of my current, long-running WIPs, my character believes her government is good and that magic or anything resembling religion is bad. It’s a fantasy.
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2. Thinking cause and effect, let's talk about the character's ghost from Chapter 3. Why does your character believe the lie?
My character is a product of the world she lives in where few receive the form of higher education she’s been granted. Being educated is what allows her to begin to see that things aren’t as they seem. I started thinking about this the moment the story idea came to me.
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3.. Have you ever started a character out on one path and later had to do rewrites to get them on a better or “the correct” path?
As much as I plan, I always have at least one character that goes through a major change before I even get started. I’ve had characters change from love interests into villains, from friends to family members, and even had a few sex changes all in the efforts to create the best characters to carry out the essence of my plots.
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4. I don’t think I’ve ever written a clear Negative Change Arc but am excited about the prospect. Which character arc do you think would be the greatest challenge to write?
This is totally me. I really want to try a Negative Change Arc and think, for me, it will be the most challenging.
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5. Before you read this book, did you actively figure out character arcs (your character’s personal growth) before/during the writing process?
Yes. I think being an intense planner plays a big role in that. I plot out most of my major character's entire lives from birth to death and figure out what major events along the way help shape them into who they are and who they will become.


message 3: by Juneta, Book Club Moderator (last edited May 20, 2020 10:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Juneta Key | 70 comments 1. My favorite Character Arc question is what lie does your character believe? That was the first chapter of the book. K. M. Weiland says, "In order for your character to evolve in a positive way, he has to start out with something lacking in his life, some reason that makes the change necessary.” So, what lies do you let your character believe? Example?

Lies, lies, lies... That to love will destroy them, you can't get close to people they die or let your down, I am alone, No one cares, you not good enough or if you do that no one will love you, or everyone hates you and you don't care, and so forth


2. Thinking cause and effect, let's talk about the character's ghost from Chapter 3. Why does your character believe the lie? What is in his past that created this false belief? Do you use this when you write character arcs? Do you think about it that far out?

I do think about core motivation and core drive. What matters most to them, and why they see the world as they do.

3. I think chapter 21 “How can I figure out what my character’s arc should be?” was the best of the latter chapters in summarizing the importance of this book. Have you ever started a character out on one path and later had to do rewrites to get them on a better or “the correct” path?

Yes often. My villains, they do not want to stay villains and they try to steal the show.


4. I don’t think I’ve ever written a clear Negative Change Arc but am excited about the prospect. Which character arc do you think would be the greatest challenge to write?

Never done a negative arc. I think I would have a hard time because I cannot even write myself in a nonfiction life post that way it always turns hopeful or takes that slant. It would be a huge challenge to write a negative arc for me.


5. Before you read this book, did you actively figure out character arcs (your character’s personal growth) before/during the writing process?

(To dig deeper into this question: Did the character’s arc come naturally to you, did you struggle with it, or is it something you now realize you need to work on?)

Yes and no, in some ways that part comes naturally, but yes I do think about it, especially after the writing starts. Sometimes it is not what I believed starting out.


message 4: by Chrys (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) 1. I guess the lies I let my characters believe is that they're not safe (sometimes they really aren't), that they aren't loved or worthy of love.

2. The situation that their in at the beginning of the book and, of course, their pasts before that point are the main things that contribute to those beliefs.

3. My characters stay on their paths that I figure our before I start writing. They may do some different things throughout the story, a scene not planned, but other than that, everything stays the same. With that said, I have had bad characters turn good, and good characters turn bad, but that's because those bad characters were really good people, and the good ones were actually the villains in disguise.

4. I've never written a Negative Change Arc. All of my stories have a happy ending. I'm not sure if I'd be capable of leaving them in a worse position than when they started.

5. Honestly, I never thought about arcs before. For me, it comes naturally when I write and plot. I just know that I need to resolve their situation(s) and bring them to a happy ending, so I do that.


message 5: by J.Q. (new)

J.Q. Rose (jqrose) | 6 comments I always know I want my character to grow in a positive way from the beginning of the book. Always positive in my stories. In my WIP, she starts out intimidated by a woman and by the end of the story, her self-confidence has grown so she can stand up to the lady and achieve her dream.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks Chrys for this thread. This was my book review for CCA last year:

>>>>>

I wanted to give this book 6 stars...

K.M.'s Outlining and Structuring books are great, but THIS is the book that kickstarted me into completing two shorter pieces of writing, each in 24 hours, and I'm confident that the same theories I learned from it apply to my longer works-in-progress. The questions cut to the chase, and made my outlines much more focused than they used to be.

The best part? Your characters will finally cooperate with you to craft the best story ever.

If you're still floundering and upset that the story refuses to go your way, that the structure still seems contrived, that the characters want to challenge your deity...

You see, the other day one of my colleagues envied my successes professionally and literarily and said I was a god. I replied, "Gods still have a lot to learn."

Same goes for you.


message 7: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lafferty | 1 comments I've found, especially in the book I'm writing now, which is has been the most challenging in terms of character development, that it is important to give characters the chance to grow in unexpected ways.


message 8: by Chrys (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) Jennifer wrote: "I've found, especially in the book I'm writing now, which is has been the most challenging in terms of character development, that it is important to give characters the chance to grow in unexpecte..."

Absolutely! Unexpected growth is the best. :)


message 9: by Chrys (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) J.Q. wrote: "her self-confidence has grown so she can stand up to the lady and achieve her dream."

I love that!


message 10: by Chrys (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) Cassandra wrote: "Thanks Chrys for this thread. This was my book review for CCA last year:"

You're welcome, Cassandra! Thank you so much for sharing your review with us!


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited May 26, 2020 04:33PM) (new)

Chrys wrote: "Cassandra wrote: "Thanks Chrys for this thread. This was my book review for CCA last year:"

You're welcome, Cassandra! Thank you so much for sharing your review with us!"


Thanks Chrys! A key aspect of CCA was that it combines well with Shawn Coyne's "Story Grid" approach to writing stories, and I used this blended approach to complete my longest-running headache writing project, the result of which I submitted to a contest.


P.S. In hindsight I definitely used the blended mode in some writing events and contests in early 2019. For the contest piece, upon further reflection, I realised it was K. M. Weiland's earlier book, Structuring Your Novel, that got to mash up with Story Grid...


message 12: by Chrys (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) Cassandra wrote: "Chrys wrote: "Cassandra wrote: "Thanks Chrys for this thread. This was my book review for CCA last year:"

You're welcome, Cassandra! Thank you so much for sharing your review with us!"

Thanks Chr..."


Good luck with the contest!


message 13: by Ronel, Book Club Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ronel Janse van Vuuren (miladyronel) | 27 comments My review of this month's book: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 14: by Chrys (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) Ronel wrote: "My review of this month's book: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..."

Thanks for sharing your review with us, Ronel!


message 15: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 30 comments I'm kind of with Chrys--I've not consciously thought about character arc, though since I write murder mysteries I'm always working with lies and errors. Following the conventions of the genre gives me a modest positive character arc--that is, not a startling amount of personal growth for the MC, but each books leaves her with some aspect of her personal life a little larger and healthier.


message 16: by [deleted user] (last edited May 26, 2020 04:32PM) (new)

Chrys wrote: "Cassandra wrote: "Chrys wrote: "Cassandra wrote: "Thanks Chrys for this thread. This was my book review for CCA last year:"

You're welcome, Cassandra! Thank you so much for sharing your review wit..."


Thanks Chrys!!!


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