1. Eucryphia

    Eucryphia Member

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    Character arc for a detective?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Eucryphia, Aug 7, 2017.

    As a beginner at writing fiction, I've been reading to acquire some background about the art and craft of novel writing. As a result, I have a question which relates especially to my chosen genre, although I somehow wonder whether it's necessarily genre-specific.

    In the murder mysteries that I enjoy reading, the detective (main character, protagonist, whatever) doesn't usually arc: Holmes, Poirot, Morse, Smiley, Dalziel — the list goes on. Yet many of the craft books I have been reading seem obsessed with the notion that unless the Main Character has a character arc (with the result that readers see them change at the end), the story will be in some way incomplete or even second rate.

    So my innocent question is: does a detective MC have to arc in today's murder mystery novel?
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    That's a really interesting question!

    I'm not an expert on mystery novels, but I feel like there may be an arc over the course of a series for some of those characters? Like, doesn't Sherlock go through some pretty nasty stuff, have an opium addiction, etc.? I don't know the books well enough to know whether he's like that from the start and just stays the same or whether there is a change over the course of the series, if not over the course of a single novel.

    Lord Peter Wimsey develops through the course of the series, I think, especially in terms of romance - he has a series of flings but then settles down when he finds true love with Harriet. And as I recall Harriet helped him with some of his "nervousness" which had been an ongoing issue?

    @ChickenFreak reads more mysteries, I think... maybe she can hook us up with some authority!
     
  3. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    "Chief Inspector Reginald "Reg" Wexford is a recurring character in a series of detective novels by English crime writer Ruth Rendell. He made his first appearance in the author's 1964 debut From Doon With Death, and has since been the protagonist of 23 more books. In The Ruth Rendell Mysteries he was played by George Baker.

    In a 2013 interview,[1] Rendell stated:

    Wexford is a Liberal Democrat though, and I am a Labour party member, in fact a Labour peer, so I am further to the left than him.

    Wexford is an intelligent, sensitive man. He has a placid wife, Dora, and two daughters, Sheila and Sylvia. He has a good relationship with Sheila (his favourite) but a difficult relationship with Sylvia (who feels slighted though he has never actually intended to slight her). He also has a strong friendship with DI Mike Burden."

    From memory, Wexford doesn't change much through the course of his "career" of 24 novels; perhaps that's a consequence of being in a series of novels. Just how many epiphanies can one detective have during his lifetime? Whereas, in a free-standing novel, you can have your MC start out with, say, a fear of snakes; and then he has to confront his greatest fear and rise above it. If you're planning to use him in a series, you'd have to have him so damaged at the start that he wouldn't be able to function at all! And, if you don't plan a series, you can't go back and give him all these frailties once it's turned into one; or have him develop a new neurosis to replace the one he's just got over...
     
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    In my experience, a lot of mystery series have character arcs, in a variety of ways, though I would agree that it doesn't seem to be mandatory.
    • Sometimes the novel is a one shot, and has a fairly normal arc--it just happens to also have a murder. This is true of many, though not all, of Robert Barnard's novels.
    • Sometimes the novel follows someone involved with the murder, and doesn't specifically follow the detective, and that "someone" has an arc. This is true of some of Agatha Christie's novels, and it seems to be the inherent structure of Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver mysteries.
    • Sometimes there's a multi-novel arc. Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey spends several books wooing Harriet Wane, and both Peter and Harriet go through a variety of changes.
    • Sometimes a detective that usually functions as a detective gets a one-novel arc. The Mirror Crack'd is, to me, a book about Miss Marple's adjustment to old age. At least, I think it is because the plot events related to that aren't mentioned in an of the plot summaries, so I may be mistaken about which book they're in.
    • Sometimes it seems like the detective might have an arc, but it turns out to just be a sustained source of angst that goes on and on and on... The Agatha Raisin mysteries come to mind.
    • And sometimes the detective just marches along detecting with no perceptible personal arc. Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot is an example. It feels as if when Agatha Christie needed a little more humanity in her detectives, she inserted Miss Oliver rather than giving much to Poirot.
    Editing to add: I could have sworn that Wexford has some life changes, but I can't find any confirmation by Googling. Maybe it's fear of spoilers, or maybe I'm thinking of a different detective.
     
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  5. Eucryphia

    Eucryphia Member

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    Thank you for your prompt replies! :)

    @BayView

    Indeed, I find Sherlock to be arrogant, insensitive, a misanthrope (apart from his compulsive need to tell things to Watson in order to demonstrate his own cleverness), and a habitual user of both morphine and cocaine — and what's more I'm afraid he remains so throughout the whole canon. He is, nonetheless, interesting to read about; it's just that I think I'd hesitate before inviting him to a dinner party.... Happily, he wouldn't accept, anyway. :rolleyes:

    M'Lord Whimsey does eventually manage to settle down with Miss Vane when she eventually ceases her vacillations, and they promptly spawn not a child but another novel (Busman's Honeymoon). But I can't detect very much change in him throughout the saga, I have to say?

    @Shadowfax

    <grin> But to be fair, Wexford is something of an exception to most fictional detectives by virtue of being a seemingly-contented married man with two daughters. His author is even quoted as saying "He seems to exude a particular sexual attraction which has something to do with an air of security and reliability and absolute safety. I know because women are always writing to me about it. They want me to kill off Dora so that they can marry Reg." An interesting sidelight on the readers' preferences, perhaps. But I agree that any changes in him throughout the series of books are fairly minimal, perhaps other than his occasional problems with daughter Sylvia, although to be fair I haven't read many of the books featuring him, for some reason.

    (As an aside, I also have to admit that I had never seriously considered writing a detective protagonist whose who was chiefly characterised by "security and reliability and absolute safety", but that's probably why I'm still a beginner). :D

    However, your point about changes in respect of a series character is well taken. It's just that I'm having real problems with the idea of a detecive who spends time agonising over problems with his childhood or whatever: I just have this feeling that this would be a distraction to the ethos of a murder mystery, but that's partly what's behind my question — maybe I'm just out of date?

    @ChickenFreak

    Thank you for your contemporary references.

    I do agree that 'Sometimes the novel follows someone involved with the murder, and doesn't specifically follow the detective, and that "someone" has an arc.' So does that mean that it's all right if there's an arc in there somewhere, even if it's not the detective? Is that sufficient to placate the Must-Arc Police?

    I honestly hadn't noticed that "...both Peter and Harriet go through a variety of changes..." — obviously I'll have to re-read the books, perhaps in sequence this time, and look harder.

    And your comment that: "The Mirror Crack'd is, to me, a book about Miss Marple's adjustment to old age" was very interesting. That's another one I need to re-read.


    My grateful thanks to everyone for your kind responses. :)
     
  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    It's been quite a while since I read any of them, and I certainly never read them all or in sequence, but I remember having read a few and then reading the first one and being kind of shocked by how fragile Wimsey was. Which I assume means he toughened up a bit over the course of the other books?

    Another more contemporary set: Dick Francis wrote different characters in most books, but I think his characters usually had a bit of an arc... or at least sometimes they did. They were always strong-willed, intelligent, observant, etc. right from the start to the end, but I feel as if at least some of them beat their demons--there was one about a jockey who was disabled, somehow? Lost his hand? Am I mixing two stories up? Quite possibly. But I'm pretty sure I remember him having a phobia about whatever the circumstances of his injury were and having to overcome that...
     
  7. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Yeah, I would agree that the detective often has a flatter, less demonstrative arc. My theory is that the mystery itself co-opts and almost overrides a lot of the things that a character arc would normally accomplish. The whole "journey and discovery" thing almost gets removed from the MCs head and laid out through the course of the mystery instead. Mysteries in a lot of ways are the perfect plots because all stories are mysteries (to the reader) to a certain extent. You spend a decent amount of time unraveling the who, what, when, where, and why of the characters and plots in any book... detective fiction takes all of that and wraps it into a convenient package for the reader without needing to delve too deeply into the detective's wants and needs. At least, not too far beyond solving the case and bringing justice to the victims.
     
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  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I was going to include Dick Francis as a sort of mirror image of the situation where a series detective sometimes gets an arc, and then I forgot. In Dick Francis's novels, several different main characters seem to go through the same arc. I see several of his novels as the same personal journey with different protagonists. I think that it's told best in Proof and The Danger.

    Sid Halley, the one with the lost hand, does to a fair degree break out of that arc. I find him the most memorable of Francis's protagonists.
     
  9. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I just realized:

    The default position of the detective character is that of the First-Person Peripheral Narrator. The story is fundamentally about the people involved in the crime – the criminals, the victims, the witnesses, the accomplices – and the detective is the character who takes the reader's position of trying to learn about the actual story.

    Which is intriguing because Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are the main symbols of Watson being the First-Person Peripheral Narrator to Sherlock Holmes' Main Character, but if Sherlock Holmes is already the Reader Surrogate in regards to the case, then Watson is the Recursive Reader Surrogate.
     
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  10. Eucryphia

    Eucryphia Member

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    My sincere thanks once again for your replies! :)


    @BayView

    You said "I remember having read a few and then reading the first one and being kind of shocked by how fragile Wimsey was. Which I assume means he toughened up a bit over the course of the other books?"

    Ah. That's.... a little uncomfortable to hear. Perhaps I might very gently suggest that with the English, especially those of us of a certain age, traditionally what you see is not necessarily what you get. With some of us anyway, although to be fair that is becoming less and less the case as time goes by. When we talk about a "Public School", for example, you probably know that we mean exactly the opposite: having been brought up as that sort of Englishman (without the slightest family connection to aristocracy but having admittedly attended a Public School) I was a little shocked to discover that even today we're still occasionally taken at face value outside our home turf. Admittedly, I'm a bit old-fashioned, to put it as kindly as possible. Certainly, Lord Peter Wimsey (if I can manage to spell his name correctly this time) may have been aristocratic, but he wasn't in the least bit effete. At least, not in the mind of his authoress anyway. :rolleyes: As Major Wimsey he did, after all, serve with distinction in the blood and guts of the 1914 - 1918 conflict, which was no picnic for anyone involved.

    Therefore no, he had no conceivable need to be toughened up; and indeed he wasn't - at least in my view. :cool:

    But Dick Francis is not really within the bounds of this discussion, surely, since he writes thrillers, not murder mysteries?


    @ Homer Potvin

    "I would agree that the detective often has a flatter, less demonstrative arc. My theory is that the mystery itself co-opts and almost overrides a lot of the things that a character arc would normally accomplish...."

    That's very interesting, and I'm in the process of thinking it through. It puts me in mind a little of something that P.D. James wrote in her book "Talking about Detective Fiction":

    'I see the detective story becoming more firmly rooted in the reality and uncertainties of the twenty-first century, while still providing that central certainty that even the most intractable problems will in the end be subject to reason.'


    @ChickenFreak

    You said "In Dick Francis's novels, several different main characters seem to go through the same arc.", but once again, his books are thrillers, not murder mysteries?


    @Simpson17866

    <grin> I think there's a slight flaw somewhere in your logic about a Recursive Reader Surrogate, but nonetheless I take the point. What that says about the detective's arc, though, I'm not entirely sure.


    Many thanks once again for your kind responses! :)
     
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  11. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I'm starting to think there might be a flaw too, but I'm not entirely sure what it is either :rolleyes:
     
  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    But, remember, Wimsey came home from the war so traumatized that he couldn't give orders, of any kind, not so much as demanding a soft-boiled versus a coddled egg, because he had given orders that sent so many men to their deaths. Bunter tells the story of Wimsey finally demanding something, and I think that Bunter was very slightly (in a manly sort of way, of course) in tears while telling it.

    I'm wrong about the tears; it was furniture-polish. The scene is in Busman's Honeymoon, and the Dowager Duchess (Peter's mother) is telling the story to Harriet (Peter's wife):

    "...and he couldn't give an order, not even to the servants, which made it really very miserable for him, poor lamb! ...I suppose if you've been giving orders for nearly four years to people to go and get blown to pieces..."

    ...

    "Well, my dear, it happened to be one of Peter's very worst days, when he couldn't do anything but just sit and shiver..."
    ...

    "...Bunter said, 'Sergeant Bunter, my lord, come to enter your lordship's service as arranged'--and he turned on the lights and drew the curtains and took charge from that moment. I believe he managed it so that for months Peter never had to give an order about so much as a soda-siphon..."

    ...

    "...I'd come up to Town one morning early and looked in at the flat. Bunter was just taking in Peter's breakfast; he used to get up very late in those days, sleeping so badly...and Bunter came out with a plate in his hand and said, 'Oh, your Grace! His lordship has told me to take away these damned eggs and bring him a sausage.' ... He was so much overcome that he put down the hot plate on the sitting-room table and took all the polish off..."
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
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  13. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Haven't read them, so I can't comment on the specifics, but I think in general that the classic elements of detective fiction have been largely absorbed by the crime and thriller genres in the last 30-40 years. The genre still exists in its pure form, but a lot of authors have rolled the archetype of the detective into thriller and crime, which didn't really exist in the Sam Spade heyday of the dime-store detective paperback. I also see "detective fiction" listed less frequently under the submission guidelines of agents and publishers than I used to (I think).
     
  14. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Yeah, I was thinking of Wimsey's PTSD-like symptoms. I never said he was effete, but he was damaged and having trouble coping. Does all that mean something different for the British?

    And I wouldn't say Dick Francis writes thrillers. Not always murder-mysteries, but certainly mysteries, within my understanding of the term. But maybe that's different for British people as well.
     
  15. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Interestingly enough, the fact that the Sherlock Holmes stories, for instance, aren't about the MC having a character arc, was mentioned on this week's episode of Writing Excuses, "Structuring a Short Piece." They're primarily about the question to be answered or the problem to be solved.

    It can be different in a novel, of course, though in a long series the character arc may be pretty long and a little flat. But since we've brought up Lord Peter, when I first came to Sayers' work I accidentally checked the first book, Whose Body?, and the last, Busman's Honeymoon, out of the library at the same time. A Wimsey fan of my acquaintance was aghast to hear it, but I was glad I had. Lord Peter struck me as such a bloody chattering ass in the first book that if I hadn't seen how much he'd grown by the last I don't think I would have read any more. And having seen him mature over the course of the intervening novels, I now can enjoy Whose Body? perfectly well.

    And again, if I may give an example from television, I'd say Thomas Magnum grew over the course of the series Magnum, P. I.

    But I think it's worth listening to what Mary Robinette Kowal says in the Writing Excuses episode. Fiction is made up of Milieu, Ask/Answer, Character, and Event (the MACE Quotient)*, but not in equal proportions. Mystery will always put Ask/Answer first, and if you choose to put Character a distance third or fourth, that's perfectly fine.

    Maybe this is another example of why it doesn't pay to get hung up on craft book rules.

    ___________________________________

    *Also known as the MICE Quotient--- Milieu, Idea, Character, Event.
     
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  16. archer88i

    archer88i Banned Contributor

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    The short answer is no. There are plenty of stories that work better with a static character, and they're pretty good sellers, too.
     
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  17. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    Sid Halley may well be the most memorable of Francis' MCs; perhaps because he, at four appearances, is the only (?) one to have a series?

    What struck me about Francis' books was that there was usually an emphasis on some speciality outside horse-racing (I remember one about computer programming, and another about photography [using dark rooms and chemicals and negatives...not bloody selfies on your mobile!]) which entailed a dedication to "X, who patiently explained to me how to write a computer program". And then he included one scene where he's punting down the Thames and scares a heron and the bird "stalked arthritically away". Having scared a heron myself, they don't stalk away when scared, they fly. They only stalk arthritically when hunting, and when seen on a wildlife programme, voice-over by David Attenborough (TM).
     
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  18. Eucryphia

    Eucryphia Member

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    Oops, this thread seems to be taking off in a few different directions. Let me first of all try to respond to the Lord Peter stuff:

    @ChickenFreak

    You said "But, remember, Wimsey came home from the war so traumatized that he couldn't give orders, of any kind..."

    A fair point, but in those days there was no recognition of what we would term PTSD in those who did manage to return (and a horrifying number didn't, from that war). For the authentic contemporary view I feel we must turn to the 'short biography of Lord Peter Wimsey' allegedly penned by his uncle and appended to Gaudy Night, which says inter alia —

    "In 1918 he was blown up and buried in a shell-hole near Caudry, and that left him with a bad nervous breakdown, lasting, on and off, for two years. After that, he set himself up in a flat in Picadilly with the man Bunter (who had been his sergeant and was, and is, devoted to him), and started to put himself together again. ... He had lost all his beautiful frankness, he shut everybody out of his confidence, including his mother and me, adopted an impenetrable frivolity of manner and a dilettante pose , and became, in fact, the complete comedian."

    So that is Dorothy L's explanation for the seeming silly ass that Wimsey became, although in many of the novels the mask does slip occasionally to reveal the ability, and the heart, of the man beneath. (Furniture polish or no).

    I can't help wondering whether, in a time when this country had lost almost an entire generation of young men and almost every family in the land was grieving, the author was trying to give her public some valid reasons not to resent the seeming rich idiot in the top hat?

    @BayView

    You said "I was thinking of Wimsey's PTSD-like symptoms. I never said he was effete, but he was damaged and having trouble coping. Does all that mean something different for the British?"

    Regarding PTSD I would refer you to my previous comments. As to meaning something different to the British, or even the English, the answer is no, not as far as I'm aware.

    You also said "I wouldn't say Dick Francis writes thrillers."

    Fair enough. Although in her book How to write killer fiction (in which, because of the distinct differences, she has separate sections for mystery and for suspense), Carolyn Wheat puts Dick Francis very firmly in the suspense category. Just saying....

    And since we're moving away from Peter Wimsey —

    @Shadowfax

    You said "What struck me about Francis' books was that there was usually an emphasis on some speciality outside horse-racing."

    Absolutely, and what I especially admire is the lucid way in which he imparts the necessary technical information to the reader, without becoming either overwhelming or boring. Not an easy thing to pull off, I feel.

    @Catrin Lewis

    Thank you for the link to the podcast, and for "A is the new I". :) If I understood the panel correctly, they were saying that in old-school Conan Doyle-type detective stories we're dealing with the new A, a purely Ask/Answer story in which a character arc simply doesn't appear. I had wondered whether that might be the case, and so it's interesting to have it confirmed.

    (Sadly, I don't think Magnum, P.I. has ever appeared on TV Over Here (or if it has, I must have missed it), but thank you anyway). :cool:

    You also said "Mystery will always put Ask/Answer first, and if you choose to put Character a distance third or fourth, that's perfectly fine. Maybe this is another example of why it doesn't pay to get hung up on craft book rules."

    You know, I think that may be the closest I'll ever get to an answer to my question, so thank you. :)

    @archer88i

    You said "The short answer is no. There are plenty of stories that work better with a static character, and they're pretty good sellers, too."

    Pithy, and to the point. Thank you. In fact you reminded me of something I read in Anatomy of a Premise Line by Jeff Lyons. He suggests that before starting to write we should test our story idea to see whether it's really a Story or merely a Situation (and he offers a tool to help with that decision). But here's the thing: he takes pains to stress that he is *not* advising writers to only write Stories, and goes on to prove it by listing five films which are Situations, all of which grossed over $100m at the box office. :rolleyes:


    So many thanks indeed to everyone for their responses. You have helped me to move on from something that was starting to bug me, and I'm most grateful to you.

    OK, back to some real writing, I reckon. :D

    All the best!
     
  19. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Francis wrote one book set in Canada and it was pretty painful to read - it felt like he'd wanted to write off the cost of a cross-Canada train trip so he wrote a book about it! The train stuff was done okay, but he tried to give the dialogue Canadian "flavour" by throwing "eh" in every damn place - not the places Canadians would use it, just random weird spots. It was hard to read. But I hope he enjoyed his vacation by train!

    ETA: And @Eucryphia, the point we're trying to make about Wimsey is that his symptoms/coping mechanisms seem much stronger in earlier books, so that would be the character arc you were looking for, right? The furniture polish was a turning point in the arc (although that's a strangely mixed metaphor...)
     
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  20. Eucryphia

    Eucryphia Member

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    > "...his symptoms/coping mechanisms seem much stronger in earlier books, so that would be the character arc you were looking for, right?"

    I completely agree with you that Wimsey gradually recovers from his PTSD (or whatever we'd like to call it) as time moves on. I suppose my problem was simply that my own internal definition of a character arc hadn't until now really included the background process of slowly recovering from an illness, even a psychological one. So I went looking for a proper definition, and in her recent Guide to Writing Character I found that Alida Winternheimer defines character arc like this:

    "Character arc is the evolution of the main character over the course of the story, the process of becoming a different person at the end of the story than she was at the beginning."

    But is the process of gradual recovery necessarily part of the process of "becoming a different person at the end of the story"? On reflection I think that I have to agree with you: in this case, at least, the answer is yes (even if here it's more of a series arc, if you see what I mean). ;)

    My grateful thanks for the clarification. :)
     
  21. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    upload_2017-8-8_12-43-50.jpeg

    Taking the poem by Philip Larkin as its starting point, this book shows how your parents produce the damaged pre-adult that is you. You then spend the next few years (if you're lucky) repairing the damaged bits, and being a useful member of society. If you're not lucky, and/or your parents were particularly good at F***ing you up, you'll never recover, and you'll spend your life in some sort of mental trouble. If you're unlucky, you may also do something as traumatic as ordering men to their death, or killing someone some other way; again, if you're lucky you'll get over it.

    Character arc is basically moving on from the damaged individual to a less damaged one.
     
  22. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I've only skimmed the thread so not sure if it's already been said, but mysteries are one genre where a character arc isn't necessary - and, in fact, is usually absent. The 'arc' in detective novels is the solving of the mystery.

    There are some modern detective series with arcs (usually a downward spiral into divorce and alcoholism, yawn, in opposition to what @Shadowfax said) but it really isn't necessary.
     
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  23. Eucryphia

    Eucryphia Member

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    Brief addendum to the above:

    I'm still thinking about this, and I'm wondering to what extent we should separate out the genuine on-page development of a character from the changes that go on in the mind of the author and the consequential increase in depth of that character in later depictions, as a series progresses? A sort of off-page, author-internal, arc process, perhaps?

    To take an example from a completely different genre — compare, for example, Terry Pratchett's character Granny Weatherwax as she is depicted in Equal Rites (published 1987) with the significantly more complex, and indeed powerful, character she has become by the time I Shall Wear Midnight is published, in 2010.

    Or maybe I worry too much.... :p
     
  24. Eucryphia

    Eucryphia Member

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    Oops, whilst composing my previous reply I missed a couple of other valuable updates to the thread....


    @Shadowfax

    That's a dark interpretation of the limited possibilities for human happiness, although I can't dismiss it, unfortunately.

    You also said "Character arc is basically moving on from the damaged individual to a less damaged one."

    So it's inevitably an upward trend, rather than an arc in the usual sense? Yet many seem to insist that things have to get worse before they can get better. :meh:


    @Tenderiser

    > "...mysteries are one genre where a character arc isn't necessary - and, in fact, is usually absent. The 'arc' in detective novels is the solving of the mystery."

    I can identify with that. My problem was originally caused by reading works by so many writing gurus who insist that without a character arc for the protagonist the book is doomed to be second rate.

    I think I'd prefer it if a detective's arc was usually towards being even more able to be a good detective, or something along those lines. Too vague and simplistic, no doubt....

    > "There are some modern detective series with arcs (usually a downward spiral into divorce and alcoholism, yawn, in opposition to what @Shadowfax said) but it really isn't necessary."

    I certainly agree with you there. One more miserable, alcoholic, anti-social cop and I might run screaming for the hills. (A cliché trying to become a trope?). But I suppose that if you're a burnt-out case the only way to go is up....

    (Incidentally, I was a police officer once, so I am aware that other possibilities exist). ;)


    My thanks once again.

    [Edited to remove a typo]
     
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  25. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    This is why many writers (me included) roll our eyes at these books by self-proclaimed "writing gurus." They cause so much damage to new writers, or ones who haven't found their confidence yet.
     
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