Feb. 09 Writing Prompt

Yesterday we practiced writing a character arc for our main protagonist and antagonist. Today, we will also work with these two characters and expand their arcs.

We want our main characters (MC) to resonate with the reader. We need them to have strong feelings for the MCs like love, hate, loathing and adoration.

If our readers can relate to the MC, or understand why the bad guy must be stopped, then you pull your reader into the story.

For those that don’t know, this is always a good thing.

Now that we have a complete and engaging narrative arc for our story. The characters that live in that world need their own arcs which are just as intriguing.

So, we are going to build on what we created yesterday, making the MC arcs more engaging and high-stakes.

February 09

Add high-stakes situations to your MC arcs

The arc, or character growth throughout the story, needs to come from somewhere. It should be tangible for your reader, made clear for them.

You need to strive to give the audience something to hold on to. And while their growth is important, there can be several bumps in the arc, just like we had with the story itself.

The more twists and turns you can add, more things the character has to go through to get the reward of growth, the better it will be for your readers.

As simple as people want their own lives to be, they want to read about the one who got what they deserved through hard work, adversity and strife.

Fighting for Stakes
When the character has to fight for what they get, it makes the reader more likely to pull for them (or against them).

Believe me, no one wants the MC to just be handed the growth on a silver platter at the end of the story. Make them earn it.

What Can You Add?

Here are a few things you can add to your MC arc to make it even better and more high-stakes.

  • Life or death. Nothing raises the stakes higher than the threat of being killed. No one will stay sat on the couch when their life is at risk.
  • Love. Second only to death, true love is cliche, but it works. Give your MC a reason to love, or put the one they do love in jeopardy and watch the sparks fly.
  • Desire for more. It is basic human condition to want more out of life. Whether it is to accomplish more, earn more or just be more, we all struggle to do better than yesterday and it is highly relatable.
  • A friend in need. Helping a friend, especially when no one else can, is a great reason to get behind a character.
  • Monetary gain. If I didn’t want to move and you offered me $20 to run to the store, I’d probably go. So will your characters.
  • Peer pressure. Even if the MC doesn’t want to do something, peer pressure is a real thing, and it can be quite convincing, not to mention relatable.
  • A mistake. Sometimes you can combine arcs with twists. Perhaps the growth of the MC is due to a bad decision they made, or an attempt (or failure) to do something quite the opposite.

Now, all you have to do is look at the growth of your character. Where can you add instances and things from the list above (or your own) to make it more relatable, believable or fantastic?

Add those mini-arcs in with your main arcs from yesterday. When you are finished, post the new and updated character arcs in the comment section below.

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2 Responses

  1. Jason Steele says:

    These are great, I’m going to have to start going through more of your writing prompts and articles, but I’m liking what I see so far.

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