Once a month, my critique partner and I meet up to talk about our lives and all things writing. It’s a ton of fun to spend time with someone who “gets”me in a way that non-writers don’t. I’d planned on sharing with her a book that I discovered two months ago and have been referencing at least twice a day. As usual, we were chattering along and I forgot. She brought up this book about creating character arcs she’d ordered from Amazon that she’d heard good things about. I asked her if it was Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development by K.M. Weiland? Turns out it was. Of course, then I had to gush about it.
It’s an excellent book and here’s why I think that every writer needs it. Almost all writing advice about characters says a writer has to make them flawed to make them sympathetic. Then you have to have them overcome said flaw or make some improvement to it by the end of the book. Sounds easy, right? Not for me. I’ve tried this and floundered through too many manuscripts to count. This is where this insightful book comes to the rescue. It breaks down how to write a flawed character in a step-by-step process. It even provides the way to do it for a positive character arc, a flat character arc, and a negative character arc. In my opinion, K.M. Weiland is brilliant, but her help doesn’t stop there. She even helps you identify how to make the characters flawed, along with points during your story where your character should make choices or react or start to change. The book walks you through the three acts and pinpoints certain areas where the arc needs to do something. Like the title says it even helps guide the plot. Every writer should keep a copy close by to reference, whether a panster or a plotter.