The Character Arc Series | Going Back to the Start | Act 1

Hello everyone, now that this series has officially kicked off and we are already working on a non-linear timeline with my posts. Here is the third installment which is going back to the start, Act 1. Act 1 is where your reader is introduced to your characters and your inciting incident. (The event that gets the story and arc going.) Act 1 also introduces your the character’s fatal flaw. (Reference earlier post.)


A tip my source shares is introducing a minor character or confidant the character can depend on and grow from. This is an interesting technique seeing that I prefer to introduce minor characters in Act 2. However, if this technique works for you, by all means, stick with it. All I recommend is that unless that character changes your character or progresses the story, keep them. If not, consider getting rid of the character or developing them some more.


You must also realize there is not simply one type of arc. There are three. The first deals with a flat arc (arc where the character does not experience significant change. The second is a negative arc (where a character becomes worse as a result of their circumstances.) Or finally, the most common type of character arc is the run-of-the-mill method of having situations dramatically change the character over time leading to their primary goal or vision for life.

Once you have chosen which type of arc to use or if you are deciding not to use one, I would advise against this. Writing a complex story with twists, dynamic characters, and more is simply not possible with a timeline that accomplishes what the arc does. So if you want to write characters and a story that can make an impact, some planning is necessary. Now you don’t have to go nearly as far as I am, but I am passionate about my story so I want to work on it until I am proud of it. However, having some form of timeline or record of character development and the events that caused them can accomplish this for you.


Look for Part 3 | Act 3 tomorrow! If you have any questions or anything you would like me to elaborate on. Just let me know and I will make a blog post about it.

- Matt Gorrell (creator of mattgorrell.com)


 


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