Story Arcs

 A few weeks ago, my CPs and I attended a local writing workshop. I had a chance to talk to author Lindsey Leavitt about my WIP. Lindsey is smart, funny, insightful, and she posed a question for me that I wasn’t initially sure I knew how to answer.

How do my character’s internal and external story arcs connect? How does the inciting incident set her on a journey that will resolve both arcs?

 As I struggled to answer her question, I realized that my plotting to date focused almost exclusively on the character’s external journey. While she had an internal journey as well, it wasn’t nearly as developed. 

I also realized, with that familiar sinking feeling, that my revisions were going to be more complicated than I’d planned. I spent several days avoiding writing because I didn’t know how to solve the problem of the two story arcs. And then, inspiration struck. While I still have a lot of work ahead of me, the resulting story will (I think) be much stronger.

So I want to pose similar questions for you: Does your character have well-developed internal and external conflicts to deal with in the novel? Does the external climax also help bring about an internal climax?

Building these kind of bridges can require some delicate work. But the final story landscape is richer for them.

What useful writing advice have you received recently?

*Photo by David Hiser, National Archives

4 thoughts on “Story Arcs

  1. Yet another important thing to think about as I revise. It's funny how you think you're done and then somebody mentions something like this and you think, “Of COURSE I should do that!” At least that's how it goes for me. 🙂

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  2. “Building these kind of bridges can require some delicate work. But the final story landscape is richer for them.”

    This is such a great line! This was one thing I noticed as some of my sub-characters developed – they were just bodies. I'm finding I like them more now.

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  3. Great thing to consider as we revise. When revising, I sometimes get bogged down in the details and wording of the prose, but weaving in these arcs as you describe and truly FLESHING out the characters is so important, whether you do it from the beginning or have it in there as part of your revisions.
    (And Tasha, not all of your characters have actual bodies. Hehe).

    Thanks for sharing this, Rosalyn!

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