Creating 3D Characters: Week 4

The Character Arc

By now we have made some decent characters, explored those characters, created bios, interviewed them and written scenes.  Now we have to think about how our characters are going to grow/change/develop throughout the course of the novel.  Stories are about characters.  Who cares about an event if we have no connection or involvement with the people in the story.  I learned a lot this week.  Feedback on the scene was very helpful and I am looking forward to more of that.

What happens to the character.  Questions to ask:

  • Is the character going to experience positive character growth or negative character change?
  • How big of a change will the character go through?
  • How aware will the character be of these changes?
  • How resistant will the character be?  Internal resistance?  External resistance?  Both?

People do not move toward a solution until the pain of the solution becomes less than the pain of the problem.

Pitfalls to avoid (aka New Writer Mistakes):

  • The pressure on the character isn’t great enough for change.  (Stakes must be high enough to cause conflict)
  • It’s been done before/too cliche
  • The transformation comes too easily (Make your character work for it!  Suffer & Sacrifice!)


There are 4 main categories of obstacles.  What kinds of obstacles do your characters encounter?

The Antagonist (self-explanatory)

Physical Obstructions (raging rivers, mountains, etc)

Inner Obstacles (the psychological conflict)

Mystic Forces (the supernatural/magic)

Homework Assignment this week is to see the scene in which the character(s) we are working with are first introduced.  We want to take a critical look at how the character is initially introduced because this is our character’s real first impression.