Monday, August 20, 2007
Is He Really Who You Think He Is?
I've been wracking my brain all weekend for a topic and since I can't seem to think of anything pithy, I'll fall back on the topic we discussed at the Wild Rose Press historical chat on Thursday night.
I found it interesting that about 80% of the writers at that chat liked a bad boy hero and a feisty heroine, yet when Scarlet O'Hara of Gone with the Wind was brought up, a majority of the writers booed and hissed her character and grudgingly agreed she did have an interesting character arc. And they loved Rhett Butler, yet no one could quite remember what exactly his character arc had been.
Which left me wondering- How much arc does a character need to be compelling or an unforgettable character? Do we need to make that arc touch the sky or can it be small and still grab the reader and tug on those heart strings?
I just read a book by a well-known author and thinking it over the heroine had such a minuscule arc at first I thought, "Well, she doesn't have one". Then looking at the hero, he had an arc, not of major proportions but a significant one. Which then led me to ask the question, do you only need to make the one, main character(it was the hero's story) have an arc to have a compelling story, or does the reader want to see growth and change in both the hero and heroine?
After all these questions buzzed around in my head, I started thinking back on the stories I've written and more than once after getting to the end of a story, I'd discover (looking back through notes and scenes I'd jotted down along the way) my character had strayed from the destination I'd intended in their arc and yet, the story came out stronger.
So, my challenge to those who have suffered through my ramblings- Can you write a character arc for either your hero, heroine, or both and if you can do you consider it a grand arc or a small one and do you think it is enough to move the reader.