Like I often repeat, I write YA fantasy. 

Most of my writing time goes to “Dear Dragon” which at the moment is one book but part of a larger series. As a series there’s a lot going to happen. And something I find frustration with long YA series, is when character’s spend book after book with just the one single big arc. 

It drives me insane. 

Not always, but often enough. Because character’s grow and learn, and they don’t always grow and learn in the same direction. 

Let’s say your character needs to learn to believe in them self and realice they are the leader the revolution needs (cliché but works as an example), do they really need six books to realice this? Maybe the answer is yes and you have a good reason. But consider this: how much more interesting would it be if they realised they were a capable leader, they begin to lead, and because of this they stop paying attention to others and have to learn to let other’s help out? 

One character arc can lead into another. 

Or perhaps new problems pop up out of nowhere with new arcs. 

I also want do a quick throwback to how character arcs happen before the books begin, character arcs can sometimes go on in the background with side characters and character arcs will continue after the book ends. 

I mentioned it in a post once upon a time and I stand by that. Often times we believe the most interesting characters are the ones that grow and change during a story, but to use an example everybody knows: in Harry Potter, many of the most interesting characters are teachers or grown ups who have already grown and learn very little over the course of the books. 

Character’s can also take breaks from their arcs to pursue some other lesson. Or character’s can learn something then unlearn it only to learn it again (don’t go over the top on this, but sometimes it can make a point even more powerful, a good example of this is Zuko from atla, he changed but when given the chance to redeem himself in his father’s eyes cannot help but take the chance. It is only once he is back that he realises this isn’t truly what he wants and changes sides properly!) 

Character arcs do not have to be linear. They do not have to last forever and they do not have to be standalone. 

Have as many arcs as you need. 

Let them wonder away from the arc then wonder back. 

Let them realise that the things they’re trying to learn isn’t worth it. 

Let character’s be more like real people. Sometimes it can be way more interesting than a walking lesson. 

As usual,  check out my book, stories I’ve written plus other social medias: here.

What are your favourite character arcs from media? Or better yet, what’s your favourite character arc you’ve written? 

For me it’s perhaps a draw between Henry Warren and Elizabeth Owen. They both grow a lot in different ways and often together.