“Characters are the bedrock of your fiction. Plot is just a series of actions that happen in a sequence, and without someone to either perpetrate or suffer the consequences of those actions, you have no one for your reader to root for, or wish bad things on.” — Icy Sedgwick
“You cannot have an effective protagonist who simply responds to events happening around him or her. Your protagonist must act, not just react.” — Rachelle Gardner
If you’re new to character creation in general, here are three great articles to check out. Otherwise, skip ahead to the section on character arcs below.
1.) 33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters – by Kristen Kieffer
2.) How To Choose Your Character Names – by NY Book Editors
3.) How to Create a Powerful Antagonist: The Epic Villain Breakdown – by Kristen Kieffer
1.) Creating Stunning Character Arcs, Pt. 1: Can You Structure Characters? – by K.M. Weiland (This article starts a fifteen post blog series about character arcs. The article below references some of these, and this first article has links at the bottom for each of the 15 posts. If you are curious about character arcs in general, check it out, otherwise, continue on to the articles below which focus on character arcs within a series.)
2.) FAQ: How to Write Character Arcs in a Series – by K.M. Weiland
3.) How to Craft Character Arcs for Your Trilogy – by Kristen Kieffer
4.) How to Write a Book Series – Dynamic – by Kristen Kieffer (If you are writing a dynamic series, you only need to read the section entitled “Breaking Down Dynaimc Series”. You do not need to read “Identifying Your Story’s Plot Arcs” until next week.)
5.) How to Write a Book Series – Static & Anthology – by Kristen Kieffer (If you are writing a static or anthology series, you only need to read the sections entitled “Breaking Down Static Series” or “Breaking Down Anthology Series”. You do not need to read “Identifying Your Story’s Plot Arcs” until next week.)
4.) Creating Your Villain’s Journey – by Chris Winkle
4.) Creating Character: The Case AGAINST Character ARCS – by Script Magazine
5.) How To Write a Series – by Writer’s Edit (Read step 3 “Getting to know your characters”.)
1.) Figure out what type of character arc you want for each of your characters.
2.) Are your characters currently following those arcs? Do the arcs make sense? What needs to change so that they do make sense?
3.) If you’ve laid out a character arc for more than one character, do they sync up? What needs to change so that they do sync up?
1.) Discuss the articles you read. Where there any that were more helpful than others? List 1-2 things you learned that maybe you hadn’t known or thought of before. This is also a good place to reintroduce yourself, if necessary.
Getting in the Mood:
1.) Write for 15 minutes: Imagine an epic narrator from a favorite movie, maybe Cate Blanchett or Morgan Freeman. Write them narrating your character’s evolution through the series.
2.) Split into smaller groups. Each person gets a chance to read their 15 minutes of writing.
3.) After each person reads, others give feedback: a) What worked? b) What needs more work? Be as specific as you can.
1.) Get into small groups and discuss your character arcs and what you came up with for your writing assignments. What type of character arcs did you go with for your characters? How are your characters following those arcs? Do they sync up with the other characters? What thoughts does your group have on making your arcs stronger?