I have a suggestion…regarding Character Arcs.

A friend of mine, who also happens to be a writer, gave me a book called CREATING CHARACTER ARCS, The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development, by K.M. Weiland, PenForASword Publishing, 2016. (Thank you Tina Oppici). Tina has been suggesting I read it for over two years. She finally handed me a copy and I’m glad she did.

I suggest you read it, too. It’s a succinct, easy-to-follow path to completing your character arc. Which is, after all, the story. I have been working on one particular novel for twelve years. (Do you feel my pain?) I knew my character arc wasn’t rich enough, so six months ago, I embarked on yet another revision. The timing of this gift was perfect.

What’s Character Arc? The character begins the story a broken, troubled, undeveloped part of themselves, and goes through amazingly spectacular antics, and undergoes a significant change. It seems simple but if it’s not integrated into the story structure and linked to the theme it doesn’t work. And sometimes, we are just too close to our own stories to see what’s not working.

CREATING CHARACTER ARCS is only 274 pages in total, broken into four parts: the Positive Change Arc (150 pp), the Flat Arc (35 pp), and the Negative Change Arc (39 pp), and part four is FAQ about character arcs.

To be honest, very little of this guide was revolutionary insight. But its succinct presentation and abundant examples make it easy to follow. What’s even more valuable are the direct questions that force you to look at each element of your story structure and confirm how well your character fits.

If you’re a pantser, like me, read this and answer the questions relative to your WIP. It will help confirm or improve what you’ve got. If you’re a plotter, write your outline against this guide and you’ll be off to a solid start.

Author, my hats off to you. I have outlined the positive arc section to an even shorter six pages. I plan to do that to the remainder of your work, too. As a pantser, these outlines will become part of my standard revision routine; heck, if this outline works the way I expect, you might make a plotter out of me yet!

P.S. I understand there’s a workbook available to accompany this text. Admittedly, I haven’t sought it out. I was able to work through Weiland’s suggestions with a pad of paper and a pen but wanted to make you aware of this other option. Good luck!


  1. As a true pantser myself, I will be getting this book ASAP. I have had numerous critiques mention my character and I think this will help. THANKS!


  2. I have another one of Weiland’s books, good stuff!
    As a fellow pantser, working on the same novel for a several years, yes, I definitely DO feel your pain and I appreciate this recommendation. 🙂 Thanks, Marti.


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