Creating Character Arcs

After finishing two non-fiction books on creative writing – How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy and Characters and Perspectives, which I talked about in this blog post – I moved on to my next book, which I recieved for Christmas.

I was very excited to recieve not one, but three creative writing books:

  • Creative Character Arcs by K. M. Weiland
  • Beginnings, Middles, & Ends by Nancy Kress
  • Song Maps by Simon Hawkins

The first one I decided to read is the one I was most excited about: Creative Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development. I had read excellent reviews about this book, suggesting it was a #1 resource for writers, and it was filing in a gap that I really care about in my writing: character development.

Some of my favorite books are solely because of the character development, the number one being Jumperby Steven Gould. I love the way that the character grows and changes and his balance between coming of age and figuring out his super powers. The angle of anti-terrorism is so interesting, especially the way he tries to balance revenge with morals, and his relationship with the F.B.I. is so interesting. I love it, it fascinates me, and I really want to reflect genuine character development in my writing.

This book seems to be the answer, and I’m certainly adding her companion novel Structuring Your Story to my Must Read List. But, let me get to the book.

I’ll start off by saying I’m only on Chapter 5 and it has still heavily impacted my writing. One things I am really loving so far is that every idea in each chapter builds upon the last. It starts with the root of every character, and thus every story. From there, it can build upon the foundation, and grow your character. Not only does it grow your character, but it grows the story.

The second thing I am loving about it is that at the end of every chapter there are questions! Usually about 8 questions about your character and whatever the topic of that chapter was. I have really enjoyed pacing myself in reading it by stopping after every chapter to grab my notebook to think about the questions. It has really helped to understand my character: where they came from, where they are going, and who they are at the start.

After every chapter, I am so excited to write, to use this knowledge I have uncovered. While I’m not going back to re-write anything until the end, it has always given me some really great brainstorming for ways to improve and focus the scenes I’ve written. So I go back and make some little notes for later.

I’ll be sure let you know when I finish the book, but even if it goes downhill from here, I feel like I’ve already gotten so much out of it.

So that’s my little update for now! So far, I have successfully written at least 500 words every single day in 2017, whether it is working on my novel, working on musicals, or writing blog posts. I’m hoping to push through and get January under my belt and then move onward to the rest of the year! It is very exciting to have made a goal and be sticking with it so far. My planner has been a BIG help to all of this. But that’s another topic for another time.

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