Questionable: Character Arcs

Tamsin asked:

Character arcs – how do you know if you have a strong one for your character? How do you winkle it out of a character that is refusing to tell you what theirs is?(!) And is there a diagrammatic shape/structure that you use for character arcs? Do characters have separate arcs for different aspects: i.e. an emotional arc and a mystery plot arc or should those be welded together as aspects of each other?

Let’s break this down into its parts first, says the teacher. Continue reading

Leverage Sunday: The Juror # 6 Job, Integrating a Single Character Subplot

"The Juror #6 Job" Leverage has five members in its community which is a problem if you want to arc your characters by showing how the events of their stories change them and make them grow. One solution is to skip the character arcs and just do action stories, but that leaves a story with characters who become boring because they always react the same way, always do the same thing, Trying to arc each team member in every episode is just as bad; it results in truncated, chaotic plots and not much growth. A third option, giving an episode over to a single team member, would be almost as bad because it would kill the focus on community that makes this show so strong. The Leverage writers went with a different solution: giving characters their own subplots at different times in the series, making sure those subplots are integrated completely into the main plot so the character growth stuff never stops the main con plot in its tracks. “The Juror #6 Job” is a great example of this use of subplot. Continue reading