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

Thank you for the clarifications. And for being succinct. (It has been taking me over an hour each time to tease out the information I need from the—often wonderful—storytelling, so this is very helpful to me.)

Escape is the external goal. This has all the tasks clearly presented. She doesn’t achieve it. She abandons her external goal. I don’t see another external goal emerge (which often happens in stories), but perhaps she doesn’t need one.

I don’t see a character arc. There are no indications that anger gets in the way of her goal or that anger is curbed to achieve a goal. With the exception of healing from war trauma, she seems to be the same person at the end as she is at the beginning. Healing is fine and makes for good storytelling. Story arcs are not essential to stories. If Daniel has a story arc (not essential), this is already a rich story.

One concern: Depending on how it’s handled, any mistreatment of Daniel or his father because they are British may turn readers against her. Reading about her in summary, I saw her judging those who were not involved in causing harm and being angry with them, and I felt alienated from her. I actually went to the dictionary. A bigot is “a person unreasonably attached to an opinion and antagonistic toward people based on their membership in a particular group.”

Of course, if Daniel or his father did cause her harm, she is completely justified and not behaving as a bigot. It’s also possible to show that in her heart she’s not a bigot, even as she behaves like one (though that is problematic). And, of course, the devil is in the details, so perhaps her unfair behavior toward them is finessed.

Not trusting the because they are British may not be due to anger or hate. It might just be prudent, and not a flaw at all. If it’s portrayed as a trauma response, there’s also no problem with empathy and no flaw.

So there are a lot of ways to deal the behavior/attitude that raised a red flag for me.

And there’s no obligation to give Rebecca a flaw or a character arc.


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