Thursday, July 19, 2007

Consistency of Character traits, arc--you name it

I noticed something weird the other day. I didn't write it down, so what I thought was going to stay in my head as a radical new idea didn't come back until I was free-associating.

Character Arcs are simply a matter of consistency.

Like I said--weird. There I was on UNK's blog, reading his in-depth, fourteen?! part series on how to make your characters grow, and he missed this one simple point. And it's so easy. All that study condensed down into two sentences.

You need to know your person. Then stick with him.

Yeah--it sounds goofy, so let me explain. Say Keegan--(who I know as well as I know myself, lol) he's real, he's tired, and he's got that whole family-obligation, reluctant hero thing going. I threw him in the middle of a bad situation, where the only way out is to leave the woman he loves, because if he doesn't--he, personally, will be responsible for "killing" his brother.

Ok, with that set-up in mind? What the hell does he do? He can't react in any other way than he is, because that's WHO he is. He's a really great guy--and he's willing to sacrifice his future happiness for Connor.

Which short. If you make a person consistent, with consistent traits, and keep them in mind as he reaches points that branch off from A to B, he's only got ONE WAY TO GO. He CAN'T make another decision. Sure, he'll grow. That's part of the basic character arc. People grow or die. They don't remain static.

The whole trick to making it interesting, to build it larger than life, is to showcase that one turning point where the growth is fast and strong enough to see, and play it for all it's worth.

...I gotta go write that down, because now I know (and as GI Joe says, "knowing is half the battle!") when I get to that scene where Keegan has that ephipany, I need to remember.

What I'm creating is consistency of soul.


Jennifer McK said...

AMEN!!!!! The most difficult thing for me is to make that turning point CLEAR!

jodi said...

lol, I'm still trying myself. That's what the edits are for. :)