Do you know where your character is right this second? Do you know where he’s going to end up? Do you have a logical, tension-filled, engaging path for him to follow?
Character arc, writers, is one of those necessary pre-writing decisions you need to make for your story. The type of character you want to portray will come through the arc you put him on. Conversely, the arc will help drive your character towards his story goal.
There are three major types of character arcs: Positive, Flat/Neutral, Negative. While there are some variations with the Negative arc, we’ll only focus on these three in this post.
Building a character doesn’t happen in one shot, at least, not the unique, three-dimensional characters. Deep, believable, get-you-in-the-gut people that drive story are so rich and complicated they burn, smolder inside you. How do you infect readers with your characters?
Weak words are a story’s nemesis. They are easy to use, serve multiple purposes, and act as quick fillers–but they drag your story down and dim your writing. They crop up like kittens unless we are paying strict attention to each sentence we compose. With care and time, you can ferret them out—my advice is to wait until you’re at the copyediting stage, when there is no chance of you rewriting and accidentally adding in more of these insidious words. When you edit, replace those offenders with strong verbs or simply tighten the sentence.
“TO BE” VERBS …
Some writers are overwhelmed by the need to tell a story, caring only about letting the story loose onto the page, wildly spilling forth the characters, setting, and problems, like an adventurer without a map. Other writers are methodical, controlled, and deliberate; their need to tell a story may still be great, but their approach is more like that of a hunter tracking prey.
It may either encourage or frustrate you to be told that there is no one single or right approach to writing. As with everything else, what works for one writer may not work for another. This is all because of your natural writing forces. Finding your writing pace and discovering which processes work best for you is necessarily a product of practice and search pursued by writing every day (Time Warrior’s), or on a regular basis.
Let’s explore the two different extremes of writing process…
One of the many grumblings I hear among people on social media is that they struggle with self-management = accountability. This includes sticking to goals, organization, time, attention/distraction. As lone wolves, writers are forced to rely on themselves to get the work done, however they planned it. Or didn’t plan it. Many writers set a goal and chug through till it’s accomplished. Set a new goal, chug through that till it’s accomplished. So on and so forth. Some writers do well with this, and they don’t need outside support.
Many writers who spend more time in a writing cave than out and about in the bustling world tend to have less of a handle on productivity and self-management. Speaking for myself, if I could spend all day in my nether worlds with my characters I would, dinner and kid pick-up after school be damned.
But I have real-world obligations that actually force me to step out of my cave and act like a normal person…
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