crafting stunning character arcs can you structure character

Creating Stunning Character Arcs, Pt. 1: Can You Structure Characters?

What if there were a sure-fire secret to creating stunning character arcs? Would you be interested in discovering it? If you care about connecting with readers, grabbing hold of their emotions, and creating stories that will resonate with them on a level deeper than mere entertainment, then the answer has to be a resounding yes! […]

How Minor Characters Help You Discover Theme

How Minor Characters Help You Discover Theme

Is theme the moral of a story? Is it the message an author wants to share? Or is it something more inherent to the plot itself? If this were a multiple-choice test, then I’d hope you would have chosen C. Although theme is potentially both a moral and a message, neither of these should be […]

How the Antagonist Affects Character Arc

How the Antagonist Affects Character Arc

We often think of the antagonist as an external obstacle to our protagonist’s forward motion. The antagonist is usually a physical entity, something standing in the way of our protagonists’ ability to achieve their physical goals and perhaps even threatening our protagonists’ lives or their physical well-being. Consequently, it can be easy to forget that […]

Why Your Protagonist Might Not Always Be Your Hero

Writers often use the word “protagonist” interchangeably with “hero” or “heroine.” This tends to conjure images of ogre-slaying, cape-wearing, entirely dazzling, why-can’t-I-look-that-good people. But this is misleading. Is “heroic” really the only qualification for a protagonist? Sometimes the requirements of certain plots necessitate that authors look outside the box to find the story’s true protagonist. […]

if you keep in mind these five elements of story structure, you’re more likely to succeed than you’d be if you ignored them.

5 Elements of Story Structure

A few years ago, on the West Side of Manhattan, a rusting hulk of elevated railroad tracks metamorphosed into a promenade called High Line Park. Its transformation soon turned the Meatpacking District, through which it passes, into one of the hottest neighborhoods in New York. If you go visit the park, you’ll see a relatively new hotel called The Standard, […]

What’s the Most Important Moment in Your Character Arc?

Character and change. This is what story is all about. You take a handful of people and you force them onto a journey that will change them forever, usually for the better. This is character arc. If your characters are following a Positive Change Arc, they will start out less-than-fulfilled, perhaps even personally stunted. They […]

The Two Conflict-Creating Needs of Every Character

In Frank Oz’s comedy What About Bob?, Bill Murray’s neurotic character sobs to his psychiatrist (who’s trying desperately to get rid of him), “Gimme, gimme, gimme! I need, I need, I need!” To some extent this is what every one of our characters should be internally screaming. We’re all familiar with the idea that the […]

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 10: The Climax

And, now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! The climax is the pièce de résistance of our gourmet meal of a novel. When we wheel out the climax and lift the serving dish’s gleaming silver lid, this is the bit that gets all the “oohs” and “aahs.” The climax of a story should have readers on the edges […]

Two Surefire Signs of a Static Character

Two Surefire Symptoms of Static Characters

When you think of good characters, what words come to mind? How about dynamic? Dynamic characters are the stuff of literary legend. But at the other end of the spectrum, we have static characters. Except in instances in which the author purposefully leaves the character unyielding and unchanged over the course of the book to […]

Has Your Protagonist Changed? Prove It!

Personal transformations are always at the heart of strong character arcs. Our protagonists are faced with trials that force them to acknowledge their own inadequacies and then, usually, change their ways in a manner that allows them to overcome both their faults and, as a result, the bad guy. This moment of personal revelation and […]