The Character Evolution Files, No. 14: Aligning the Protagonist’s Character Arc with the Story’s Plot, Part 1

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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 studies with File No. 14, which serves as Part 1 of our examination of the parallels between story structure and character arcs.

If you’ve been following the Character Evolution Files, you may have noticed that the story’s plot and the protagonist’s character arc are tightly connected. But how do we ensure this connection exists? How can writers “time” the arc’s stages precisely so that they occur in tandem with the plot’s events? The answer lies once again with the protagonist and her response to those events – because they’re going to change her life, and who she is, forever.

Today, in Character Evolution File No. 14, we’ll start a two-part study on plot-arc alignment. We’ll learn a dual strategy for creating and maintaining this connection between a story’s external and internal elements, and why that connection exists in the first place. Then, we’ll begin a Journey Through the Character Arc “recap” that examines each stage with our new strategy and poses questions we should consider each time. If this sounds a bit weighty – well, now you know why I split it in two. 😉 Continue reading

New at DIY MFA: A Case Study on Courage as a Literary Theme

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Courage, bravery, heroism, gutsiness – no matter what we call it, this trait is one that many people admire. It’s also an idea that’s explored frequently in literature, sometimes without us noticing.

Today’s Theme: A Story’s Soul post at DIY MFA takes a deeper look at courage as a literary theme with the help of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. How do these two very different books examine the same theme in strikingly similar ways? You’ll have to read to find out.

Click here to read “A Case Study on Courage as a Literary Theme.”

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.