If you’re writing tight plots, beautiful prose, and engaging characters—and yet your stories still don’t feel as if they’re gelling, you may yet be missing what is arguably the single most important piece of your storytelling puzzle.
Maybe your characters aren’t engaging, despite your best efforts. Or maybe they’re following transformative personal journeys, but those journeys always end up feeling out of sync with the plot. Or maybe your stories turn out well in the end, after many a round of revision, but you’re finding the process exhausting because you never know quite how you got there or how to do it again the next time.
If so, I have a simple two-word answer for you: character arcs.
Regular readers of this site will find it no surprise when I tell you character arcs are the key to uniting character, plot, and theme in a powerhouse combo that creates solid and potent stories every time. An understanding of the theory and practice of character arcs will open up vast vistas of possibility within your pursuit of storytelling mastery.
Introducing Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development
For all these reasons and more, I’m thrilled to announce the release of my latest writing-craft book Creating Character Arcs. Way back when I released Structuring Your Novel, I talked about how I felt my original understanding of story structure had changed my life. I think I can safely say mastering character arcs has done that again twice over.
What are character arcs?
Character arcs are the structured progression of a character’s personal transformation over the course of the story. The protagonist will either:
- Move from a bad place to a good place (a Positive Change Arc).
- Move from a good place to a bad place (a Negative Change Arc).
- Inspire the world and characters around him to move from a bad place to a good place (a Flat Arc).
These transformations are deeply rooted in the psychological changes that occur, on stages large and small, in our own lives every single day. When executed successfully, beat by beat, these character arcs inject vivid color into your themes and resonant purpose into your plots. A excellent character arc has the ability to raise even the simplest story into an intellectually and emotionally pertinent journey for readers.
When you mate an understanding of story structure with the universally applicable journey of transformative character arcs, you will have rounded out your understanding of storytelling as a whole. You will be able to grasp the big picture of the stories you are trying to tell and to understand how to present all their facets in the most cohesive and emotional way.
Even better, if you’re like me, you’ll find that this psychological understanding of character change in fiction will provide boundless insights into the psychological underpinnings of the struggles, failures, and victories in your own personal journey.
Character arcs aren’t just about stories; they’re about life.
Learn How Powerful Character Arcs Create Powerful Stories
By applying the foundation of the Three-Act Story Structure and then delving even deeper into the psychology of realistic and dynamic human change, Creating Character Arcs offers a beat-by-beat checklist of character arc guidelines that flexes to fit any type of story.
- How to determine which arc—Positive, Negative, or Flat—is right for your character.
- Why you should NEVER pit plot against character. Instead, learn how to blend story structure and character development.
- How to recognize and avoid the worst pitfalls of writing novels without character arcs.
- How to hack the secret to using overarching character arcs to create amazing trilogies and series.
- And much more!
Gaining an understanding of how to write character arcs is a game-changing moment in any author’s pursuit of the craft. Bring your characters to unforgettable and realistic life—and take your stories from good to great!
Help Me Celebrate the Book’s Launch: Win Prizes!
Is it even possible for a book launch to feel like a launch without prizes? Of course not! For the rest of the week, you have the opportunity to win one of three prizes:
Grand Prize Winner: Literary Book Scarf featuring text and original illustration inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.
This gorgeous scarf is from LiteraryArtPrints, a handmade Jewelry and Gift brand that carries an exclusive selection of beautiful gifts for book and art lovers, including literary scarves, pendant necklaces (one of which I own and love), bracelets, laptop sleeves, and much more. Each item is fully handmade and inspired by great works of Literature and Art.
The scarf is professionally hand-printed using exclusive Italian cotton jersey. Can be open or infinity scarf style.
Second Place Winner: Bundle of all my previous print writing-craft books: Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, Outlining Your Novel Workbook, Structuring Your Novel Workbook, and Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic.
Third Place Winner: Personal Library Kit. Includes: 20 self-adhesive pockets and checkout cards, date stamp, inkpad, and pencil.
Bonus—Hourly Prize Today Only: Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration E-Book (mobi or epub).
From 6 AM to 11 PM, I’ll be drawing a winner from the overall pool of contestants every hour for the digital version of my writing-craft book Conquering Writer’s Block Winning this prize does not exclude you from the Grand Prize drawing on Saturday, but the sooner you enter this one, the better your chances of winning! Check back throughout the day to discover hourly winners, listed below:
6 AM: Trisha Schmidt
7 AM: Alicia Wilkerson
8 AM: Brian Gardner
9 AM: Cheryl H.
10 AM: Darian Chavez
11 AM: Connie Rossini
12 PM: Mari
1 PM: Samantha Sessoms
2 PM: Megan
3 PM: Terri Coleman
4 PM: Ed Richbourg
5 PM: Jennifer Weiner
6 PM: Adora Istrate
7 PM: Josiah DeGraaf
8 PM: Stephanie Hynds
9 PM: KM
10 PM: Aline
11 PM: Loraine N.
The contest will run through Saturday, November 19th. You can do several things throughout the week to earn contest points and increase your chances of winning. For every contest point earned, your name will be entered once more into the pool (e.g., if you’ve earned 18 points, you have 18 chances of winning). (Note: no purchase is necessary to enter.)
Good luck to everyone in the drawing, have fun, and thank you for helping me celebrate the launch of Creating Character Arcs! Here’s to many wonderful character journeys!