12 Days of Writing Tips: Day Six–Arcs

Sue is happy. She meets Jane. She’s even happier. Things are great. When they hit a bump, she stays happy and they pull through. They grow old together, happily. 

Flat. Line. 

In the last post I wrote about conflict. You can’t have an interesting story without it. Along those lines, you need to have some arcs built in, too. 

For instance: Sue is happy, at least on the surface. She knows something is missing, but chooses not to dwell on it. Sue meets Jane. Jane isn’t always happy. Sometimes she’s grumpy. But she makes Sue feel things. Sue gets contemplative, distracted, and forgetful. Sue gets in trouble at work. Her boss hits on her. Jane asks her to move to Alaska with her. Life is out of control. Sue lets Jane leave, tells her boss where to go, decides to become a martial arts instructor, and finds a whole new level of happy, both within and around her. 

See? It’s about change. Sue isn’t the same person she was when we met her. Obstacles have changed her and made her grow in some way. When there’s no change, when there aren’t enough obstacles or tension to move the story and characters forward, your arcs level out…they flat line, and your story drowns in static boredom. 

Challenge: How do your characters change from beginning to end? How are they different than when you introduced them? 

2 thoughts on “12 Days of Writing Tips: Day Six–Arcs

  1. Holy moly this sounds like my f’ng life right now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to channel it into a good story one day. Dang obstacles and tension.
    Thanks for these posts, Vic. I find them helpful, as I do all your suggestions.


    1. Life totally gets in the way of the good stuff sometimes. 🙂 And then it settles and you can breathe again. Hang in there…


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