What is a Character Arc?

best writing coaches Carrie Jones

This little baby (the character arc) is how your character evolves or doesn’t after she/they/he go after their yearnings and goals.  It’s how they change during the story.

Do they start off confident and end up scared?

Do they start off scared and end up confident as all get out?

That’s a bit part of the change that happens to them (the character) because of the things (events) that happen in the novel.

If they end up in a better place? That’s a positive change arc.

If they end up in a worse place? That’s a negative change arc.

If they end up in the same place? That’s a static arc.

Usually you have:

  1. A character wanting something.
  2. A character trying to get that something.
  3. Things getting in the damn way as they try to get that something.
  4. A big climax and oh-la-la they have changed.

So, for all that to happen, the character has to have some goals or wants. And they have to have the motivation to get that goal/want.

You have to make your character want something and give them a reason for wanting it. Then your awesome readers read the story to see if they can get it. That’s why you throw in obstacles because you don’t want it to be too easy, right?

Obstacles can be events (hurricanes), other people (bosses, spouses, fathers, kids, vampires), or the character’s own self.

The thing is that these obstacles have to eventually make the character grow in one way (positive) or another (negative).

Then at the climax—poof!—the character is different. They are no longer who they were on page one and they’ve become something cooler or less cooler, their world is better or it’s degraded into a dystopian hellscape.


It’s super fun. An adult paranormal/mystery/romance/horror blend. Think Charlaine Harris but without all the vampires. Instead there are shifters and dragon grandmothers and evil police chiefs and potential necromancers and the occasional zombie and a sexy skunk.

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This is because most of my books are quirky.

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Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .

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Almost Dead Series – Meet Alissa Thea, a sexy skunk, a haunted campground and a lot of quirky

Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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