Creating Character Arcs, by K.M. Weiland (PenForASword Publishing, 2016)
Often writing-craft books focus on one element in isolation. Not this time. Creating Character Arcs intertwines character change with story structure and theme.
The author asserts that “the Change Arc is all about the Lie Your Character Believes.” Through the plot, and interactions with other characters, the character will discover and ultimately accept or reject the truth that counters the particular lie. (Except in the flat arc, where he/she has a good grip on the truth in question and instead effects change in those around him or her.)
The book delves into different types of arcs: positive change, flat, and negative change. I appreciate the point-by-point way the author walks through the stages of each arc, with illustrations from well-known books and movies, and then asks specific questions to help writers discern what those points can look like in their current projects.
Later chapters address deciding which type of arc is right for your story, the importance of “impact characters,” how many characters should actually have arcs, and character arcs over the course of a series.
My copy of the book is heavily highlighted. The questions and illustrations helped deepen my understanding of my current work in progress, and I plan to work through the relevant sections for future projects.
K.M. Weiland’s popular website, Helping Writers Become Authors, is a rich resource for writers. She’s also the author of historical and speculative fiction, including the dieselpunk adventure, Storming.
[Review copy from my personal library.]