1. sonosublime

    sonosublime Member

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    Character arc/theme question

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by sonosublime, Aug 12, 2018.

    Hi all,

    I need some advice for my fantasy about a princess.

    Particularly, I want to make sure that my theme, character arc (positive change arc) and the MC's story goal are all supporting each other as a cohesive whole (and I'm not trying to tell multiple stories at once).

    The basic idea is that the MC dreads becoming queen because of her Lie that she isn't naturally born to rule, and will never be ready for it/will never live up to her mother's legacy. Her Truth will be having self-belief (although I'm still unsure about this thematic statement supporting the plot).

    The very basic plot premise is that there is an international magical problem. At the first plot point, a neighbouring antagonistic kingdom wants to forge a marriage alliance with her. They claim to know how to stop the magic problem in exchange.

    What could be a good initial major Story Goal (Want) for my MC (during Act 1), which her Lie would be at the root of (before the marriage proposal)?

    What could be a good physical goal based on What She Wants after the events of the first plot point (the proposal for a marriage alliance)?

    At first glance, these might seem like easy questions to answer. But here is what is causing me to be unsure (from what I've learned about plot and character arc):
    • The theme, character arc and plot arc need to all intertwine.
    • The MC's Lie has to be at the root of her Story Goal(s).
    • Her Story Goal and Truth should be at odds with each other, causing her to choose one or the other toward the end (and her choosing the Truth over her Want is what causes her low point in Act 3).
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    It sounds like you're using very specific terminology from someone's writing guidelines. Can you clarify where this terminology is from?
     
  3. QueenOfPlants

    QueenOfPlants Active Member

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    Maybe that nobody notices how inadequate she is (in her opinion), so she tries to emulate her mother? Maybe she has some event in front of her that she wants to pass without making a mistake? And maybe exactly this behaviour leads up to her making a decision which kind of turns out to be a mistake (for herself or her country or the world, whatever). Sometimes people who feel inadequate try to overcompensate and get themselves into bigger trouble by that.

    Hiding under a stone? Just being left alone, without all the responsibility that she "knows" she can't handle?
    Maybe to build an ice castle on a mountain top guarded by a snow monster? :p

    I'm probably a bad advisor. :(
    What if in order to choose her Truth she must do something her mother would never have done?
     
  4. sonosublime

    sonosublime Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I went through a couple of websites which all share the same idea, but this is my favourite: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/write-character-arcs/

    Do you have any examples of this?

    I'm not sure that would make for a very compelling second Act though.

    Thinking more about it, I think these points are more in-line with someone who has the "wrong" Story Goal to begin with, and it needs to change partway through. But what if someone has the "right" Story Goal, but is unable to achieve it without accepting their Truth? What would happen at their low point then?
     
  5. QueenOfPlants

    QueenOfPlants Active Member

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    To a certain extend a former classmate of mine.
    Apart from that: Any person who has ever done some stupid dare just to impress their peers.

    No, probably not.

    Hm, I guess they totally fail in their attempt to get to their Story Goal. And in the case of your princess, that might at first drive home her "point" that she is inadequate.
    So something must happen that makes her see her Truth.
     
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    This is fairly general. What does it mean to be "born to rule"? What does she think she's missing?

    Also, it sounds like if she keeps believing this lie, she'll become queen, and if she stops believing it, she'll become queen. I feel myself wanting something that will clearly affect her life, beyond just being about whether she's happy or unhappy in essentially the same life.

    So maybe if she thinks she won't be a good queen, she'll decide not to be queen? Runs away, abdicates in favor of her sister, something?

    Or maybe in this culture, a husband rules the wife, even if the wife is the queen. So maybe she doesn't think she can or should be the ruler, she doesn't want to be the ruler, and she's going to accept this marriage alliance so that her husband will become king. So she would get what she wants--she escapes the obligation of being the ruler.

    And then, for whatever reason, she later accepts those obligations. Maybe she changes her mind about the marriage alliance. Maybe she marries the husband, maybe she even loves him, and then he dies and she's back in the position of having to be ruler again. Maybe his country and advisors try to pat her on her pretty little head and keep ruling, and she fights to take her power.
     
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  7. sonosublime

    sonosublime Member

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    Yes, it's just trying to figure out what that works on a character, plot and theme level.

    You bring up a good point on regards of her Lie.

    It's a matriarchy, and she has no sisters, so not too sure how that would work. Need to do some research.

    But I think abdication is a little strong in the other direction.

    She wants to do right by her kingdom, but her Lie in that she'll never be ready to rule is what will be holding her back throughout Act 2 until she accepts her Truth.

    I just need some ideas for a real, physical goal for her to aim for before and after the first plot point (when the antagonist kingdom proposes the marriage alliance in exchange for their information on solving the international magic problem).
     
  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Maybe she's seeking someone to rule for her? That is, a very strong-minded and competent Prime Minister who will relieve her of the need to actually rule?

    And then she spends much of the novel trying to get him back out of power.
     
  9. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Member

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    It sounds like you had an essence vs. identity -problem here.

    Essence is a girl with mental world of a girl. Identity is something huge. You are small and you must become and be huge. How can you do it?

    If you loose your essence, you'll become a narcissistic piece of s**t. If you keep it, it tells you that you are a little girl and your size is not a size of a kingdom.

    Hauge might be your friend here with his essence <==> identity -thoughts.
     
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  10. sonosublime

    sonosublime Member

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    Thanks guys. Great replies that have given me a lot to think about.
     
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  11. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Member

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    To the essence vs identity:

    You can accept, deny, pretend, outsource or modify an identity. And you can do something else with different identity that has a connection to you. That means that one person, one essence and two identities makes huge amount of logical possibilities.
     
  12. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Member

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    You've given her a want but your missing her her need (to have self confidence.) Unless that is her truth as some people call them different things. Some seem to think want and need are the same as lie and truth but they are different.
     
  13. sonosublime

    sonosublime Member

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    The way I see it, want is the story goal, need is the truth, lie is the anti-truth. Correct me if I'm wrong.
     

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