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The Character Arc in Six Specific Stages

Here’s a post I wrote for Writers Helping Writers some months back that I’d like to share with you.

As a writer, you’re probably familiar with the term “character arc,” but what does a character arc entail? How do you structure this arc? And what informs the way your character changes, from the start of your story to the end?

While all characters in a novel can have arcs, it’s the protagonist whose change should be the most significant. Depending on genre and plot, your hero’s change might be subtle or life-altering. A suspense thriller or cozy mystery may show little character growth by the end, when the bad guy is caught or the mystery solved, whereas a thoughtful women’s fiction novel or relational drama may showcase monumental change.

But, in all stories, arcs are about change or transformation. And the stories with strong arcs show a character starting in what Hollywood movie consultant Michael Hauge calls identity or persona.

What makes for a great persona is a character who has suffered in his past and has developed a coping mechanism over time. This is his face he presents to the world that keeps buried his pain, fear, or hurt. Continue Reading…

Essential Character Tips for Fiction Writers

 Today’s guest post is by Beth Barany.

No matter if you’re a plot-driven or character-driven writer, your characters need to feel real so that your readers can connect with and care about them.

If you’re pressed for time or just want to get to the essentials, I recommend these three essential characters tips. By no means are these tips exhaustive. I cover many more brainstorming tools for character and for plot in our newest book for writers, Plan Your Novel Like A Pro, from which this article is adapted.

Tip #1: What Does Your Main Character Want?

What does your character want?

Stories are built on characters and their journey to get what they want. Your job to put obstacles in the character’s way so he can’t easily obtain what he wants. (Otherwise there would be no story.) Continue Reading…

How To Write A Killer First Draft In 6 Steps

Today’s guest post is by Gilbert Bassey.

A killer first draft, the holy grail—who doesn’t want it?

Conventional wisdom says that you can’t write a good first draft. As Hemingway famously said, “The first draft of anything is shit.”

No doubt, he makes a valid point, but, as with everything, just because it sounds true, doesn’t mean it holds true all the time.

I don’t believe the first draft has to be shit, and I’ll show you the 6-step process I use to create killer first drafts.

Before going on, it makes sense to come to terms with what a “Killer First Draft” is. Continue Reading…