Creating Character Arcs
The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development
Author K. M. Weiland has written several award-winning novels and even more books on the craft of writing. She is passionate about both the craft of writing and about mentoring other authors. Creating Character Arcs was published in 2016, with an accompanying workbook in 2017. It is one of her more recent books on writing, but not her newest. Since 2017, K.M. Weiland has not only written a new novel and a new guidebook but also translated her previous book on story structure into both French and German.
I felt like this book really built on other books, like Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody, on the subject of plot, story structure, and character development. For instance, wounded characters are nothing new. The centaur Chiron, of Greek myth, is one shining example of a deeply wounded character that was more interesting and relatable because of his wound. Branding the wound as a ghost, however, gives it a slightly different angle. It reminds us that the character can be tormented by something more ephemeral and untouchable than a flesh wound.
I enjoyed the depth that she went into when describing the path of the positive arc. At the same time, I think I would have been a little happier if the three types of character arcs had been given more balanced attention. Although the sheer number of questions may be a bit excessive, the questions she poses throughout the book are insightful and provide a richer understanding of all major characters—protagonists, antagonists, even sidekicks.
In my opinion, Creating Character Arcs is a worthwhile read that offers an enhanced understanding of the nuances of character arcs. Techniques based on the tried and true three-act structure are clearly presented to the reader alongside enough fresh sentiments to keep the book entertaining as well as informative.