Preptober: Character Arcs!
Hey everyone! Today I am so excited to be writing this blog because someone actually suggested it to me! I am all for what people want to see so here I am and I hope you enjoy it.
A quick disclaimer, I have severe imposter syndrome in the writing world… as much as I love to talk about things I get worried that since I have no credentials or published writing to back up my word, people will think of my words as invaluable.
But I was told that it is nice to just hear from someone at the same level as you. And I am not here today to teach or inform, but rather to share my personal experience and technique!
Alright, on to the topic of today…
Yep. I dread them. I find them not in the slightest fascinating when trying to write a whimsical story.
I’ll give it to you straight. When I write a story, I start my characters off one way and let the story as it is told tell me how that character is changing. I find that when I have a stable point A to point B in my characters’ shifts of mood, attitude, and behavior, it limits me. I feel claustrophobic about how they “should” act based on that predefined arc rather than letting my writing run them wild.
In my opinion, the first draft needs to just get on the page. Do not worry about the character arcs and all the subplots and internal and external conflict that gets them over that bridge. Those gaps can be filled in later.
I have found it to be a lot easier to write the story and then go back through and identify where the arc could be found or build a foundation on.
It is the same concept I find with scenes and chapters. I just write my scenes with no chapters in the first draft because if I write based on pre-categorized chapters, I limit my word count and either draw out or shorten what needs to be told.
Also, I do not believe character arcs should be complex. In most cases. And I mean this in fantasy. As much as I love to create character-driven stories, the fantasy aspects should not be taken away from… such as the world, the magic, the lifestyle change, etc. I find that I can flush out my characters too much sometimes. But that’s okay!
Basically, what I am saying is that your character can just have an aha moment and still change internally and externally in a way that balances the story. They don’t need an extremely drastic change. Although sometimes that is interesting to see. I overwhelm myself by always believing this needs to happen though.
Just take a breath and write the story. Then flush out those characters and retrace your steps. You will have to rewrite and revise anyways, so do not overwhelm yourself right off the bat by trying to do everything at once!
I wish I had a personal process of creating character arcs that were easy and fluid, but as we all know, writing is the opposite at most times!
I would say in the most simple terms that I just write a story and then go back and flush out the characters and pinpoint where a piece of the arc is not already and could be intertwined. Through drafts, you will see how this works and keeps you level-headed with the process that as your story flourishes, so do your characters. It is one cohesive project, but you must remember that they are their individual parts and roles as well.
Main characters have their lives and side characters have their own lives separate from the main character just as much. That is what I had to come to terms with. And when I did I was able to see every character for who they were and what they could add to the table.
Thanks for tuning in and stick around for a few more Preptober posts this month! Leave some suggestions on here, on my Twitter, or on Instagram as well @livi2chronicles !!!
See you soon,