Feb. 10 Writing Prompt

This week we have been working on our character arcs.

I know that the writing prompts have been more lesson and less prompt lately (except for this weekend), but I feel it is important to keep up on these things.

Writing prompts are designed to make you tap into your potential and get creative, right? So, what is wrong with practicing being creative in a way that will benefit your current story?

Yeah, I didn’t see anything wrong with it, either.

For the rest of you, you’re in luck. Today we will do both! A little lesson in execution (not the death kind) and practice more with the character arc lessons.

Enter the MARC

I want to introduce to you, what I like to call the “MARC” or miniature arc.

This plays along with two concepts. First, my love of giving random names to silly things, and second the fact that every character of yours needs to be a real person.

What better way to make a real person than to give each character something to fight for?

You’re right! There isn’t! Thanks for agreeing with me.

A MARC is simply a character arc but for a minor character. These are your background players, the cashier, the guy in the car at the stop light, etc.

The ones you add to your story because it matters, but not so much that they have to have a speaking part or even a thought.

But remember this: they are there for a reason.

Minor Characters Live, Too
Even minor characters have a role to play. Now you get to expand on their lives, too.

MARCs are quick. They usually take only a paragraph or two, maybe only a sentence or two. You get the rise, climax and fall rapidly (before car guy’s light turns green).

I am sure most of you have done this in real life at some point. Sitting at a restaurant or at the beach and you see someone walk by.

You look at them and something catches your eye. Maybe the sizzling plate of fajitas or that god awful bathing suit. But what ever it is, you focus on it.

Then, you make up a story about the person. Usually something funny to make your mom laugh. They get a weird name, have some random job like penguin farmer, and they are going somewhere or doing something drastically important.

That, is a MARC!

Let’s look at today’s prompt, then make our own MARCs!

February 10

Make 2 minor characters and give them a mini arc

For this part, you get to be as creative as you want.

MARCs are rarely, if ever, seen by your readers. It is one of those mystical things that only the author knows.

Like giving backstory to your characters that doesn’t appear in the book or film. You know, though, and that makes the writing better when that character is on stage.

You know where they came from, where they are going, and why they act the way they do.

MARCs give you the same type of understanding, just for much smaller characters.

Keep in mind when you are doing today’s prompt, these aren’t designed to be big characters. One appearance in your story, one small page where they are present. Other than that, they don’t exist.

So go all out. Give them a MARC worth telling your mom about.

Here is what I came up with

Her name is Helga Chastaine. Yes, she works the overnight shift at the Sac-n-Save, but that is only because Russia is in another time zone. Helga is a secret agent sent to America to observe small town life. While she isn’t a spy herself (disqualified because the calves were too thick), she sends back daily reports to help the actual spies learn how to acclimate once they arrive.

His name is Tony Bartholomew Harold Eugene Simon Carl Schwartz. He doesn’t have a job that anyone can remember, but he is great at parties. While he is a bit awkward going for the constant 50’s look with slicked back hair and leather jackets, the best part is when he gets drunk and people make him say his full name. If only they knew his name is really Tony Bart and he adds a letter representing the first name of the person he just murdered.

See? Simple. Fun!

Now you try! Then post your two MARCs in the comment section below for everyone to enjoy!

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