1. Maresuke_Nogi

    Maresuke_Nogi New Member

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    A character arc that goes nowhere?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Maresuke_Nogi, Sep 6, 2018.

    Do character arcs strictly need character development?

    As an example, lets take person A. Person A has a certain set of beliefs but goes through an encounter that challenges those beliefs, inciting a conflict within the character. Eventually person A comes out on the other side with his original beliefs.

    Would this essentially be a useless arc (and therefore bad writing) because the character hasn't really changed or does the reaffirmation of beliefs constitute a change?

    Thanks,
     
  2. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

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    Just because a character's beliefs don't change doesn't mean the character hasn't changed. For example, he could start with the belief 'everyone should be good to each other' (very basic example). And then reality smacks him upside the head, and he sees how bad people can be to each other. But he still believes the same, but now he's got a more 'world weary' tint to it, understanding that while people should doesn't mean they will.

    Personally I think holding on to 'hopeful' beliefs in dark times is a testament to strength of character. He should have his moments of doubt and weakness- but at the end of it, it wasn't enough to change his mind.
     
  3. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Senior Member

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    While I'm not sure about the first question, I can confidently answer the second one. It's not useless, because, while the character may not change their beliefs, they were still challenged, they still went through an internal conflict, and they still ended up changing, just in a more subtle way, by having stronger convictions.

    You see, you're describing an arc much like those classic "disillusioned hero struggles with either giving up or going strong." With those arcs, the hero comes out of it a stronger hero, and it's a valid character arc. You just seem to have the disillusionment be centered around ideology rather than the will to fight against an evil.

    You're fine. Good luck.
     
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  4. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere...

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    Not at all. It happens in superhero stories all the time! The question is whether a belief is challenged in a meaningful way. In other words the temptation to abandon beliefs is real. In the film Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman did not change her beliefs at all. She still believed in fighting Ares and saving mankind. But she became more aware of the weakness and challenges human kind faced when it came to adopting peace. While Ares still needed to be stopped, as he did present a threat, she was more realistic in what defeating him would actually accomplish. And there was a time where she just wanted to give up, until her training and instincts kicked in and she went back to fighting.
     
  5. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    It's not at all useless. This is the essence of a flat character arc. Unlike their positive or negative counterparts, flat arcs usually see the character's belief change the world around them in some way. These characters tend to be exemplars, so Kallisto's mention of superheroes is especially apt. Superman, Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, all regularly face these sort of arcs across their appearances in various media.

    Batman Begins is an especially good example. Bruce Wayne goes through a mini-positive change arc in the First Act, where he comes to appreciate the distinction between vengeance and justice, but for the rest of the film he follows a flat one. Most people--from the villainous League of Shadows to quite a few residents of Gotham itself--believe the city is past the point of redemption. Bruce disagrees, and becomes Batman as a stopgap measure until the city can stand on its own again. After he cripples the Falcone crime family and foils a terrorist attack by the League of Shadows, people start to believe in Gotham's future for the first time in years.

    That's not to say his faith in Gotham isn't challenged. Bruce very nearly gives up when the League almost assassinates him in his own home, but he persists.
     
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  6. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Active Member

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    Without development it is not an arch.

    There is a huge character development in your example.

    First characters beliefs are like utopia. They are untested ideas, feelings, abstractions, loosely or not connected to the real world. That is very unsure situation.

    Then they are tested in the laboratory of reality. Now character - and people near him/her - know that these beliefs can be used as a base of life and toolbox in the real world.

    Don't mix change to develpoment.

    A small sapling grows to a mighty tree but it is all the time same pine/oak/birch/whatever. That is develpoment! It is not changing, but it is very real development.

    A preteen becomes adolescent and an adolescent become sdult. He/she might stay the same person but he/she has some real development.

    Character arch is not about change but about development.

    Also... Change without developmenti is not developmenti. That is not an arch. It is a drop.

    That is a good example of development that does not include much change but is still very real develpoment.

    Arch can be development in a relationship. In these cases you can handle relationship as a virtual person/character who is having an arch.

    Relationship between people can be some kind of group membership. It can have an arch. You can handle a group or society as an (virtual) character. You can also handle relationship between one person and a group just like a relationship between two persons.
     
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  7. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

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    Indiana Jones doesn't change, no arc. Well, it's not a book but if it was, it would be the same :D
     
  8. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    @Alan Aspie said it best, I think. Your character just needs to develop. For example, look at Palpatine — he started off as a senator from Naboo and ended as the supreme Emperor of the Galactic Empire. He’s still an evil, conniving son of a bitch, but there is clear difference.

    Look at The Legend of Zelda for another example. Link is still Link, but at the end of each game, he’s a much different person. He’s not some random village boy living in a treehouse anymore, he’s the Hero that saved Hyrule/the world.

    Not all arcs have to be like Zuko’s from The Last Airbender. :p Though awesome that arc was.
     
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  9. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Active Member

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    Well... Thank you for these words!
     
  10. prettyvisitors

    prettyvisitors New Member

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    I think Han Solo is a good example. He is still the same in personality (grumpy, sarcastic, likes to do things his own way) throughout his films, but he learns to fight for a good cause and care for other people, and (spoiler!) dies for the sake of his son and the resistance. He doesn't need to have a personality transplant to change.
     
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