KP Book Review: Creating Character Arcs

Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development by K.M. Weiland

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

According to Writer’s Digest, K.M. Weiland runs one of the top one hundred writing sites, and she spends a lot of time on her blog giving advice to writers. Since I’ve followed her blog and read her books for several years now, I had high expectations for her latest book on fiction writing.creating_character_arcs

But with this book, Weiland matched and even surpassed my expectations.

In Creating Character Arcs, Weiland delves into the art of crafting character arcs and structuring a story around the protagonist’s character arc in a way that leads to deep themes. As Weiland points out, one of the key benefits of a strong character arc is how it unifies the story. Plot and character are too often viewed as opposing forces. [Read more…]

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Josiah DeGraaf started reading when he was four, started writing fiction when he was six and hasn’t stopped doing either ever since. After growing up with seven younger siblings, he eventually found himself graduated and attending Patrick Henry College, where he plans on majoring in literature with a minor in pedagogy (it’s a fancy Greek word for education).
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels that have worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as fun as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. Plans for obtaining those impossible goals include listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer, ignoring college work so that he can find time to write, and avoiding coffee at all costs.

How To Create An Intriguing Character

By Mark Kamibaya

Note: I refer to characters and readers as masculine. However, these principles can also be applied to female characters and readers.

Creating a character is often the hardest part in writing. It should be. God created every human being with an intricate and complex personality or nature. Putting all of that complexity on a page is no easy task. Characters are also the main reason why readers will want to read your story. An amazing character can hook a reader even if Intruiging_Charactersthe plot is cliched or even boring. It rarely works the other way around.  A lot is riding on your main character. He can make or break your story. How can you ensure that your main character will hook your reader? One word: conflict.

Characters, especially main characters, must have conflict. There are many ways to add conflict to a character. The easiest way is conflict in surroundings. This is where you put an ordinary person into an extraordinary situation. Like a simple hobbit thrust into an unexpected journey or a young shepherd boy called by God to slay the giant champion of another nation.

Another almost cliched (but nonetheless effective) way is conflict of the past. The best example is the tortured hero: the protagonist that is tortured by his dark past and the personal demons that stem from it. As I said before, this method is overdone, but it can still be used to great effect when you put an original spin on it.  One way to put an original spin on this cliche is to not have him be the instigator or victim of whatever horrible incident, but to make him a bystander of the incident so that his inaction is what plagues him.

[Read more…]