Welcome to the Character Evolution Files! This column focuses on character arcs, from the elements that create or enhance a character’s inner journey, to techniques that writers can employ to strengthen character arcs in their own work. Today we look back on our Journey Through the Character Arc with File No. 13, which answers questions we might have and that readers have posed during the series.
Analyzing the components of character evolution is no easy task. So is using those components to craft a protagonist’s path of growth through an original story. Thanks to our recent Journey Through the Character Arc series, which focused on 10 stages for developing a positive arc, we’re now equipped with a step-by-step process and targeted questions that can help us develop such a path that’s logical and compelling. But have Files No. 3 through 12 answered all of our questions about character arcs? Probably not.
So, for File No. 13, we’ll explore some of those questions. For example, can the order of the 10 arc stages be rearranged? How closely should those stages align with a story’s plot structure, or with the percentage milestones or lengths recommended in each post? Plus, if you found each arc stage’s questionnaire beneficial, check out the final section for a special worksheet announcement! Continue reading →
You may have heard of Cotopaxi before if you’re a fan of camping and outdoor activities. This backpack and apparel company based in Salt Lake City, Utah creates innovative products that fund health, education, and livelihood initiatives to help alleviate poverty in underdeveloped countries. And for their customers, Cotopaxi hopes to inspire adventure. Take a look at their blog The Llama Chronicles, and you’ll see what I mean. The company shares travelogues, tips on outdoor sports and activities, recipes for campsite meals – even American road-trip routes inspired by adventure novels.
I confess that I’m not an “outdoorsy” person, though I relish walking and spending time outside. But when I recently came across a special blog project by Cotopaxi, I knew I wanted to take part in it. Here was their challenge:
Share in a post on your blog your favorite adventure story, along with what lessons you’ve learned and you continue to carry those lessons with you since.
Now, I thought it wouldn’t be hard to pick an adventure story to write about. But then I reviewed my bookshelf, and realized I’ve read a LOT of adventure stories over the years. (No wonder I’m currently writing one of my own.) This led to me hemming and hawing over the usual novels I talk about here and other choices I love but aren’t highlighted as often… and finally decided, “You know what? I’ll write about ALL of them.” 🙂
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A big thank-you to KL Caley @ New2Writing for nominating me for the Liebster Award Challenge! This honor gives bloggers the opportunity to share more about themselves and then to “pay it forward” to other bloggers whose sites they enjoy. This version of the Liebster doesn’t seem to have a restriction on the number of followers for eligible nominees (whereas the Liebster Award received here did), so everyone is game this time around. 😉
Here are the rules for this version of the Liebster Award Challenge:
- Thank the blogger who nominated you.
- Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
- Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award.
- Let the bloggers know you nominated them.
- Give them 11 questions to answer.
So, let’s start with KL’s questions!
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One of the recent Top Ten Tuesday topics sponsored by The Broke and The Bookish was “10 Favorite Literary Heroines.” After reading several lists by bloggers I follow, I thought I’d share my own. Though as you can tell from the title, I couldn’t stop at ten. 🙂
A number of things intrigued me as I worked on this list. Each character’s story, circumstances, personality, and set of struggles is unique. Despite those differences, these heroines share some common traits. See if you can pick out those similarities as you read along. (You might not even need to read the books to figure them out!)
Here are my eleven favorite literary heroines, listed in alphabetical order: Continue reading →
On February 20, 2015, 1000 Voices For Compassion will take to the blogosphere and share their thoughts and stories about compassion in all its forms (love, kindness, understanding, empathy, mercy, etc.). Many of these “Voices” are also posting articles on the subject in advance of the big day. Since I’d been debating between two ideas I like equally, I decided, “Why not pursue both, and make one the lead-in article?” 🙂
As an avid reader and a novelist-in-progress, some of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned have come from literature. So, for my lead-in to #1000Speak, I’m doing a literary “exploration” of compassion that aligns with my DIY MFA column “Theme: A Story’s Soul.” Below are some acts of compassion from books I’ve read over the years. As you read the examples, think about what you can learn from each character, as well as the impact their decisions or actions may have on other characters, their world, and the story’s audience. Maybe you’ll want to add some of these books to your wishlist if you haven’t read them yet. Either way, I hope you’ll find this sampling of literary compassion as inspiring as I do.
NOTE: Some of the following examples contain spoilers (either major and minor) that are necessary for discussing the topic at hand. Continue reading →
Recently I’d read Brian Klems’ article at Writer’s Digest about the 10 books that had stayed with him in some way after reading them. It inspired me to start thinking about my own list – and what good timing! Within days, two friends on Facebook tagged me on their top 10 lists and challenged me to share mine. Now that I’ve posted my list there, I thought I’d publish it here at the blog, along with the reasons why I chose each book – or in some cases, series.
1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
This is probably cheating, because this and #2 would fill all 10 spots automatically. However, I have to give Tolkien and the Lords Of The Rings trilogy due credit for being my gateway to fantasy literature. I don’t know if I’d be writing the novel I’m working on today if I hadn’t picked up that series. Also, the LOTR trilogy was responsible for rekindling my love of reading in 2003. I went through a period in high school where I absolutely resented reading. Most of the assigned stories didn’t appeal to me; and with little time to read for pleasure, I lost interest in the activity altogether. It wasn’t until I saw the LOTR film trilogy and decided to read the source material that I finally enjoyed reading again. Now I can’t stop! So, thank you from the bottom of my heart, Tolkien. Continue reading →
It’s been a while since I’ve written a Recent Reads article. I’ve gone through several books in the past few months, and they’re all worth reviewing for one reason or another. So instead of writing five in-depth reviews, I’ll (try my best to) keep it to one paragraph per book.
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