Did you know the plot is not the same as a story? Simply, the story is a character arc. A person or thing moving through situations, from A to B. The story is all about the growth and struggle from internal and external events. It is the characters journey to finding their true selves. It is the struggle to grow into who they were “Meant to Be.” This is the concept that has crept along through the ages all around the world. This is why the character arc is at the center of the outline method we will be working through. Without a strong character your plot will feel incomplete. If a reader cannot feel invested in the character, it doesn’t matter how much excitement you throw in with swords and fireworks, the reader will walk away. However, if your character is intriguing, complete in nearly every way, even if they are quiet and simple, you have me hooked.
Are you hooked? Do you find me interesting enough to stick around? I can play a great character if you give me a chance. Promise. **And end scene** This is where I would give you a page number to join me but as I have said before, I am using my amazing Kindle Fire to read Take Off Your Pants! by Libbie Hawker. The title of this blog is the chapter head of where I am currently. Today the cuppa is filled with coffee, fake sugar, and almond milk. Why do they call it ‘milk’? It’s not milk, it’s…nut juice. Okay, that sounds much worse. Blah. The nibbles are equally as thrilling- oatmeal. Hench yesterday’s announcement that one of my many docs believes I am a bit too fluffy. Well, he can go suck nut juice. I just cracked myself up on that one. Excuse me while I clean coffee from my keyboard.
The keyboard is clean, kinda, and I am ready to move forward. How about you? Let’s jump into character progression. The character itself does not have to be utterly complete. Like, I don’t need to know when and where they were born and if it was natural or C-section. All I want to see is movement in their internal and external growth. As Ms. Hawker notes in this section, some newer writers believe they must give their characters some crazy unattainable traits. Like, extreme good looks, like mine (LOL), or supernatural abilities. Unfortunately, they lack personality. I don’t care if you can walk through walls if your personality is as one dimensional as the paint on that wall. Give me a reason to like your MC. What makes them worthy of my attention? Make your character relatable. No one is perfect and your character shouldn’t be either. Even if they are a jerk. Show me why. Make me want to invest in your story.
The character arc is the advancement from point A to point B. Advancement or progression implies that point B is the better of the two. It annotates some kind of improvement. Some will say you should make your character ‘sympathetic’, but no one really knows what the heck that means. Flawed. People understand that. Start with a hot mess of a character and straighten them out along the way. Even if they don’t reach point B all sparkling and new. The idea is to get them close to it. Failure is acceptable as well. Not all stories end in a happily ever after moment. Some end in the- well that didn’t go as plan- storyline.
We could always use me. Point A= fluffy to Point B= not so fluffy. Let’s see if I make it. Will I fail? Okay, so I see Dr. Jerk-face again at the end of May. That gives me 6 months to blow his mind or fail spectacularly. I am about to do something women DO NOT DO. I am going to admit my weight but preface it by saying I go to the gym and it doesn’t look like I weight…222lbs. OUCH! So, my goal, by the end of May is 190. HELP!
We can do this or fail trying.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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