Want your readers to love your characters?
While looking for inspiration, I stumbled upon K.M. Weiland’s blog post
6 Parts of Character Arc in the First Act
Like all successful writers, she expresses ideas clearly, structures concepts succinctly, quotes other writers, and recommends other books worth reading! Such as…
Christopher Vogler, author of A Writer’s Journey, who explains that stories are often divided into 3 acts:
- the hero’s decision to act,
- the action itself, and
- the consequences of the action.
Carrying this forward in her own book on writing, titled
K.M. Weiland explains The First Act:
- The First Act covers the first quarter of your book.
- The First Act introduces important characters, settings, and stakes.
- The First Act introduces the conflict, but the protagonist won’t fully engage in it until the First Plot Point at the beginning of The Second Act.
Want to hear more?
Here are K.M. Weiland’s
6 Parts of Character Arc in the First Act:
- Reinforce the Lie
- Indicate the Character’s Potential to Overcome the Lie
- Happy to talk up other writers, K.M. Weiland mentions Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi’s Positive Trait Thesaurus. Who knew something that awesome existed?
- Provide the Character’s First Step in Discovering How to Grow and Change
- All I can think of is Katniss Everdeen and the fact that we learn, almost immediately, that she’s already willing to break the rules and take risks in order to survive. Clearly, growing and changing is something she’ll be able to do, as the circumstances require.
- Give the Character an Inciting Event to Refuse
- Of course, Katniss hates having to volunteer for The Hunger Games, but she also despairs when Peeta is chosen as the male tribute. While she hates the idea of fighting someone who was once kind to her, it is his kindness and affection for her that eventually allows them to survive…so, she might hate this fairly minor “inciting event,” but as is pointed out in K.M. Weiland’s blog post, for the “unwitting hero, it’s the opportunity [s]he’s been waiting for.”
- Evolve the Character’s Belief in the Lie
- Make the Character Decide
- I’m not going to describe part 6 for you (after all, I want you to go check out K.M. Weiland’s blog post, right?)…but my best guess is that Act One of The Hunger Games ends when Katniss volunteers for her sister. What do you think?
Check out K.M. Weiland’s blog, where you can subscribe to blog updates, sign up for a free e-book, follow her on facebook/twitter and more…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. She writes Historical and Speculative Fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website.
Don’t miss my previous authors! Archived here: www.voiceofvashon.org/prose-poetry-and-purpose