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1.0 - The Character Arc & Premise

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Feb. 9th, 2009 | 12:42 am
posted by: psychofish in plotchomp


Before you even start thinking up the details about persons, places and things...

Start with the Character Arc !!!


What the hell is it? Well the Character Arc is composed of three things:
 
1) The plan: The hero/heroes trying to achieve a goal.
2) The journey: 
The hero/heroes method to getting towards that goal.
3) The lesson:
the hero or supporting characters, changed by the events of the story, learns something in the end. (The Moral of the Story)

In layman's terms, the character arc is the premise, the heart of what your story is. It is the trajectory or journey your protagonist (Aka. Hero, Aka. Main Character) takes in the story. The journey doesn't have to be physical, but to some degree, there must be some change or transition your character undergoes. Every story, no matter what it is, has a character trying to obtain a goal in the end where in the ultimate trial, he or she will  succeed or fail.

Examples:
 
The Wizard of OZ (1939): 
- The Plan: Dorothy trying to get home
- The Journey: Dorothy travels through OZ to get to the wizard who'll bring her home
- The Lesson: Although Dorothy had so much fun in OZ, she realizes "There's no place like home"

The Departed (2006):
- The Plan: Colin spies for Irish Mob Boss Frank Costello inside the State Police
- The Journey: Colin tries to uncover a police mole in Frank Costello's gang without being found out.
- The Lesson: Crime doesn't pay.
 
The protagonist doesn't always have to be the very person who holds the burden of the lesson. Sometimes there are multiple character arcs where the lesson falls on the supporting characters, where the main character's journey teaches them something.  Here are some examples:

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) 
- The Plan: Jamal tries to reunite with Latika.
- The Journey: Jamal appears on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" hoping Latika will see him.
- The Lesson: Jamal's brother, who's holding Latika captive, realizes love is powerful than money and lets her go.
 
Forrest Gump (2008) 
- The Plan: Jenny trying to make her dreams come true, Lt. Dan trying to die with honor in the war he fought.
- The Journey: Jenny hangs with the crowd and finds dissatisfaction , Lt. Dan tries to survive as a cripple.
- The Lesson: Both Jenny and Lt. Dan realizes that "Life is a box of chocolates; You never know what you're going to get" and comes to terms with the life they have even though they didn't reach their ambitions.   

Star Wars (1979)
- The Plan: Luke Skywalker wants to rescue Princess Leia; Han Solo just wants to make a buck out of transporting our heroes.
- The Journey: Luke and Han, travelling through space, tries to escape from the Imperial Fleet
- The Lesson: Han realizes it's more rewarding to save your friends than running away with your pay check.
 

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from: oshabaum
date: Feb. 17th, 2013 01:16 am (UTC)
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