Today at Writers Helping Writers, I’m focusing on the resolution, or the scenes following a story’s climax. But I’m not offering tips on how to write a resolution. Rather, I’m sharing insights on recognizing whether your story needs one at all. Because as useful as resolutions can be for resolving subplots, answering questions, and providing other closure before the final page, they might not always be necessary.
So what questions should we ask ourselves to determine whether a resolution might strengthen a story? And, which timeless is a fantastic example of a resolution-less novel? All of that is covered in my latest Resident Writing Coach post.
For the past few Developing Themes In Your Stories posts at my DIY MFA column Theme: A Story’s Soul, we’ve explored how to nurture themes during a story’s major plot points. Today’s article brings us to the most important scene of all: the climax! So how can this crucial end to the story’s main conflict reflect a story’s themes? And, how does the protagonist’s success or failure at achieving his goal influence the angle that your story takes on those concepts?
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 continue our journey through the stages of the character arc with File No. 11, which focuses on the Moment of Truth (or the Climax).
Every previous stage of character evolution, from the Trigger / Inciting Incident (Stage 1) to the Aftermath / Act III, First Half (Stage 8), has led to this one. The protagonist must now take the truth he has accepted in place of his false belief and apply it to his final confrontation with the antagonistic force(s). The trick is, he can’t merely show what he’s learned through dialogue or thoughts. Instead, he must demonstrate it through action so that other characters and the reader can see he has changed for the better. This scene (or sequence of scenes) is the Moment of Truth, the climax of the protagonist’s arc.
This second-to-last stage in the Journey Through the Character Arc is our focus for Character Evolution File No. 11. We’ll examine how the Moment of Truth attempts to rock the protagonist’s faith in his new truth, and how this stage’s outcome doesn’t always give the protagonist everything he wants. We’ll also revisit our two example characters and learn how they take the final steps toward commitment to their newfound truths. Continue reading
Welcome to the Character Evolution Files! This monthly 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 kick things off with File 01, which explores two important questions: “What is character evolution?” and “Why is it important?”
So many elements comprise the art of novel-writing: plot, voice, setting, characters… The list goes on, and it’s impossible to say that one element is more crucial than the other. However, when I think back on some of my favorite stories of all time, many share one common element: a clear character arc. Perhaps the protagonist grows as a result of his journey, or he learns something because of his endeavors. Either way, he’s not the same person at the end of the novel that he was in Chapter 1. This kind of evolution can create a truly memorable story that sticks with readers long after they finish it.
So, what exactly is “character evolution”? What launches a character arc? And, why is it important to begin with? Before we dive too deep, let’s define our terms and ensure we have a solid foundation for building this series.