Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Character Arcs

Characters need to change as the novel progresses. Everyone knows that, yet it may be easier said than done. This method for tracking character arcs was presented by Kay Grimnes at our last critique group meeting.

  1. Write on a 3x5 card the emotional or mental starting place of the main character. Note the scene/dialog/action that demonstrates the character’s mindset.
  2. On the next 3x5 card, write the main character’s first emotional shift and the evidence for it.
  3. Continue with 3x5 cards to document how the character changes as the novel progresses.
  4. Repeat with all the main characters and some of the minor ones.

If you can’t do this, the novel needs some rethinking.

I plan to try this later in the week, complete with color-coding by character.


Kristin Lenz said...

This is the hard part of novel writing. I really dislike these types of exercises, but it seems necessary at some point during a revision. *Groan*

If you want to turn this into an article for the newsletter, I'd love to see it! :) I'm in editor mode right now.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Kristin: Let me try it - before I promise to write anything for the newsletter.