Thursday, April 9, 2015

A to Z Challenge: H is for Hero/Villain Arcs

Welcome to April. With its customary showers comes the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. For those who are unfamiliar with it:
The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day. (Source) 
The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends. For more details and its history, go HERE 

My theme this year is EDITING

I'll be posting practical advice for editing any story, novel, or other piece of writing. Editing is something most authors struggle with, and after years of doing my own as well as that of others, I have a pretty good eye for what needs work. I'll be doing short posts on editing topics and (hopefully) dispensing simple, valuable advice to help everyone out there self-edit.

H is for Hero/Villain Arcs!

Every hero needs to have an arc. He or she needs to grow and change throughout your story. If they don't, your story automatically becomes flat. So here are some tips for making your your hero has a great arc.

1. Determine what it is your hero wants to accomplish.

2. Determine how they will accomplish it, and divide their actions into steps. For each step, determine how (if at all) it will change your hero, how they will react to it, how their thinking/feeling will change, etc.

3. Make sure your ending lines up with your beginning. Your hero may or may not accomplish their aims, depending on what kind of story you're writing, but make sure you start and end with what they wanted (and perhaps did) accomplish.

Following these steps will ensure that your hero has an effective arc and that your readers will be able to see their changes.

So, what's up with the "villain" part of the title? All villains believe themselves the heroes of their own stories. Depending on what POV you're writing in, the readers may not see the entire arc of the villain the way they do the hero, but the arc should still be there. It's just as important, sometimes even more so, than the arc of the hero. 

Follow the same above steps to create an arc for your villain. If both the hero and villain arc are in place, your story is already ten steps ahead of the competition! :D

Do you have any secrets for creating hero/villain arcs?


  1. The main thing is growth. The character has to change. That's why the movie World War Z didn't work - Brad Pitt's character never changed. He was the same in the beginning and end.

    1. Agreed! Change is definitely something that's needed. I think that's why Dan Brown's Robert Langdon books are if-you've-read-one-you've-read-them-all. Same problem. The character never changes.

  2. Hi Liesel! Following from AJ's minion group, the wHooligans! I think the last time I had an English class and thought about character arcs was probably before you were born! *lol* So I don't have any tips today, I'm here to learn!

    1. LOL. Hope I can teach you something. Thanks for stopping by, LuAnn! :D