Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools and Beginning of A to Z Challenge!

Happy April Fool's Day, Everyone! I hope everyone has some great (but not mean) pranks planned! I've got a couple planned for my sisters. I live with two of my sisters, one of whom has a two-year old, so I'm going to get them both up early with pranks. I'm gonna tell my older sister that we have to take my niece to the hospital because she's having a hard time breathing. Don't worry: I won't let it get too out-of-hand. I'll just wait until she comes out of her room and then throw candy at her and yell, "April Fools!" My other sister (the baby's mother) has a truck that she loves, second only to her child. I'm going to wake her up early and say that I took the keys to her truck and went out to get breakfast and backed into a cement barrier. 

I'm not sure if either will work. We're big on pranks in my family, so unless it doesn't occur to them that April Fool's is upon us, they'll probably be expecting it. :D I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. :D Wish me luck!

A to Z Challenge

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge! This is my first year participating. Basically, we post every day except Sunday, which in April means we'll finish on the 30th. We blog about something each day which starts with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. So, day 1=A, day 2=B, etc. Visit the A to Z blog for more details.

My theme is writing and related bookish things. A pretty vague theme, I'll admit, but as this is a writing/bookish blog, I thought I'd clarify.

Today's letter: A 
A is for Arcs.

I truly believe the secret to great story-telling is using arcs. All this means is that there should be change. Wherever a character starts in a story, they should end up in a different place--most would argue in the opposite place. Of course, there are many aspects of a character's life you can address for this.

For example, at the beginning of the Harry Potter series, Harry has a sad, boring life, living under the stairs with no friends and no self-respect. By the end, he's a powerful, victorious, and well-respected wizard. See: Arc!

Now let's look at my buddy, Batman. In Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne's arc is much the same as our favorite boy wizard's. But what about The Dark Knight? Batman was a powerful symbol of justice at the beginning, and he definitely doesn't grow weaker by the end, so what's the arc? It's a shift in his popularity. He becomes an outlaw, a disgrace, hated by the people, which is the opposite of what he was at the beginning of the film.

Arcs such as these are most often used for characters, but truly they can be used for
anything. If your world is tranquil at the beginning, it should be at war by the end. If, a people is in bondage at the beginning, they should be free by the end. If a country is in chaos, they should find peace. Anyone seeing a pattern here?

These arcs can be used for any kind of writing. If you're writing a series, each book (in fact, each character and situation in that book) should have their own arc. But, the series as a whole should also have an arc. You can use arcs book to book, situation to situation, even chapter to chapter. They're what drives the story, helps you reader relate to your dynamic character, and brings them satisfaction (or not if the series isn't over) at the end.

So, how are YOU at writing story arcs?


  1. I think the growth of the characters is the key to a good arc. You can have a great storyline, but if no one changes, what's the point?

  2. Agree with Alex that the characters growth is a key to a good ARC. And each story in a series much have a story ARC.

  3. One scene at a time. I'm not always enamored of story arcs. I've seen some where someone must have told the writer the character has to change a LOT, and instead, it's left me feeling like I lost what I had come to the book to read.

    And there are books where people don't change. A lot of the mystery series are like that.

  4. Good post--makes me think of similar books where the characters grow and change. Arc...good word.