Karma and Character Arcs

Construction a story of any length requires the same amount of thought and detail. If you are a pantser, which means you write by the seat of your pants and don’t outline in great detail, you still have to have a beginning, and a middle, and an end. Your characters need to change and grow. No matter what your characters are doing, you need to ask “WHY?” and be able to answer that.

In my personal life, I am as happy as I have ever been. Things are mostly stable, and with the exception of the party animals in two different houses in my neighborhood, I’m not going to complain. In some ways, it’s Karma. I have put myself at the disposal of friends when they needed me, I have given of my talents to many different groups, and I have reached out to help anyone whenever I could see a chance to assist them. But I have also done a few things that perhaps I shouldn’t. Hence the loud music from the neighbors most evenings.

My recent RWA meeting had a workshop on character arcs, given by the talented Susan Meissner. She used examples from movies and books. I haven’t seen most of the movies. I don’t plan to see the Titanic, no matter how great the character arcs are. I’ll take your word for it. But I will watch You’ve Got Mail. I’ll even rewatch Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and The Wizard of Oz. And I am reading Stephen King’s The Stand.

Let’s look at my character Roland Curtis from the Regency Banquet series upcoming novella, Main Course – Pure Captivation. He’s the eldest son of a rich but untitled family. He’s clever and knows how to get his own way, and likes to be in charge. He’s considered for promotion in the army after a year of service, a goal he’s been striving for. All that changes when he meets and falls almost instantly in love with Maryse. Sure, he’s wounded and feverish, but she’s pretty and gentle and broken inside. The only way he can help her heal is to let her be in charge, especially when they make love. He finds that falling for her is worth giving up his Alpha role.

Is it Karma that he would not have found love without this change? Is it Karma that he willingly gave up his information so that his captors could ransom him? Roland now needs filling out as a character. He was not a nice brother to his little sister Ellen, but he’s been good to his twin brother until he came up with his plan to join the army. Even without doing massive outlines, I have room to work with the character and his “WHY?”

Speaking of Karma, I’ve had a pretty bad cold for the last three weeks or so. I’m going to the doctor’s office today. And I will be reading The Stand. That’s your basic, in your face Karma right there. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

3 thoughts on “Karma and Character Arcs

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