Today on Writer’s Glossary…
The character arc is the internal journey of your character, leaving them changed by the end of story. They may grow, psychologically and emotionally, as a result of internal conflict.
The plot should test a character’s beliefs, by disturbing the status quo. This leads them to question themselves, allowing them to transcend their flaws and weaknesses or succumb to them. Ebeneezer Scrooge has the most famous and clear character arc. He starts as a mean miser, with no Christmas spirit and the ghosts help him to recognise the power of love, kindness and giving to others.
Remember, not all character arcs go from bad to good. Some characters have a fatal flaw, which means things don’t end well. And not all characters have an arc. For instance, James Bond is always competent, suave and ultimately, alone. Bond is the same at the beginning and end of every story.
The character arc is the internal conflict, which really makes us care about the people in your story and keeps the tension high, as we see them struggle with themselves, as well as the external conflicts. It can be the difference between a good character and one people love and remember forever.