Story arcs, story arcs, where will they lead?
That is what we aim to find out today. Working of off yesterday’s prompt where we set up a little outline for our story arc, we now move on to adding in some weird and wonderful things.
If you visualize the basic story arc as we covered yesterday, it would look something like this:
But that wouldn’t make a fun roller coaster for your readers, would it? One slightly raised bump and then the ride is over? No one is getting inline for that ride.
So, how can we fix it?
Well, we add sub plots and more characters and cover their arcs as well. That is one way, and it is the method chosen most often. It keeps things simple.
You have the basic story arc, still, but then you have the character arcs and sub plots that add to it, making it look more like this:
That is all well and good. It makes for a fun ride, we get to follow all the various characters around and see how they adapt and grow and through it all, follow the main story.
It’s almost, what’s the word? Easy.
But what if, and hear me out, your story arc itself looked like that? What if your main story line wasn’t so bland all the time?
You could, potentially, make it look something like:
If you want to stand out, you have to go outside the comfort zone. Having a story arc that isn’t natural (and is more exciting) is going to get you noticed.
A few of the biggest names in the biz write like this, names such as Rowling, Koontz and Tolkien.
Imagine being put on a list with those names? You can. It is possible.
Think about it from the readers point of view. Which line would you want to stand in if the three images above were options for a roller coaster?
Also, consider that the third image there, doesn’t have the character and sub plot arcs labeled yet, either. Mind = blown.
That is what we will focus on today. Ready for the prompt?
Add more incidents and climax/anti-climax points to your current story arc
To keep it simple, let’s think about our little story arc with Bob and his loss of power during Oprah from yesterday.
What if he first ran out of Cheetos? That would be an inciting incident to get him off the couch. So he goes to grab some Ruffles and they turn out to be stale.
He then goes to the fridge only to find nothing but dried out carrots and a hunk of moldy cheese.
Then, the power goes out.
But when he calls he is put on hold. He gets mad and stubs his toe.
He puts a band-aid on his toe and gets through to customer service. But then the phone disconnects.
He has to start all over again!
Eventually he gets through and speaks to the manager, gets the apology and has to wait for power to be resotred.
But when it does, the jolt of electricity burns out his TV.
He has to resort to the small black and white model in the back of his closet.
Then he remembers he has Doritos, and is able to tune in Ellen.
As you can see, the main story line of losing power, missing his show and having to fight with the electric company is still there. He still ends up finding Doritos and watching another show in the end.
But the story line itself, splits and climaxes and dips and saddens and reverts back on itself a few times.
We can then add subplots, a burnt out circuit breaker that he has to go repair, the toe getting infected sending him to the hospital, but the TV in the room is broken.
He could learn to enjoy podcasts and audio books during the character arc and there could even bee an evil electricity eating demon that is using him as bait.
The point is, the story arc itself doesn’t have to be bland.
So take your result from yesterday’s prompt and add in more story-only items that affect the pulse and excitement of your book.
Make it only revolve around the main story itself. We will add other arcs later.
When you are finished, post your new story arc in the comment section so we can all marvel at your abilities!