Reply To: Lesson 3 The Role of External Challenges, Escalation

Home Forums MASTERING CHARACTER ARCS Lesson 3 The Role of External Challenges, Escalation Reply To: Lesson 3 The Role of External Challenges, Escalation


Hi, Ruchama
Exercise 3 is about exploring a price a character needs to pay to satisfy a want (usually a goal) and/or a need (usually something internal. The latter is trickier because it is internal and may even be unknown to the character.
Most of the response here is storytelling, and some seems to be more about historical background than Rebecca. I’ve done some analysis. I hope it’s mostly right.
There are clearly external tasks :
⁃ escape
⁃ return to France
⁃ discover Isaac’s fate
Of these, it appears escape is her focus. (She can’t return to France or directly assess her brother’s fate without it).
What does she expect the price to be? I have no idea. I don’t see how she is held, what help she might solicit, indications of an underground to support her, interest in weapons, or boats to take her across the channel.
On Isaac, she does pay a price (helping Andrew), with the promise that Daniel will get the information she wants. I can imagine, since she shoots Andrew, that helping him may be more of a challenge than she expected.
I don’t know how Anger played a role in either challenge (escape or Isaac) or how she struggled to manage it for a larger goal. It feels more like she was bigoted against the British and that got in the way of trust, but I’m coloring way outside the lines here. I don’t see any indication that she was ever in a rage or that anger got in the way of a goal.
By the way, I did wonder about the rules of her parole. As I recall, Hornblower (when paroled) had to commit to NOT attempting escape.
It feels like she is accepting of love (connection), but not pursuing it. That’s fine. Characters often focus on the external goal. But, when they do pursue the legitimate need (even in small ways), it can be revealing. Lacking pursuit, I wonder about evidence Anger got in the way of love. Was she, perhaps, angry about the rules of heritage? Did that make her push against love? Maybe. I’m not sure.
None of this is to say I’m worried about problematic story elements. They seem fun. I just can’t find the elements that allow an exploration (and possible ways to strengthen) the understanding of the price of achieving the goal.

If you want to go further with this, here’s a start. State her primary external goal. Make sure you could take a picture of it (climbing onto a boat). Assuming she can’t escape on page two, what’s clearly stopping her as soon as she commits to the goal? What’s her plan (series of tasks she assumes need to be achieved)? How does the plan change and become more difficult? How does she change that makes the goal achievable?

If you choose to answer these, step away from the storytelling and communicate the responses as briefly as possible. 100 words total should do it. This is analysis here.


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