Sunday, January 24, 2010

What about Reader Arcs?

You've heard about character arcs, right? That's a tried-and-true writing technique that uses the 1-2-3 plotting approach.

Take for example A Christmas Carol.

Part I: Scrooge is a lonely, stingy miser.

Part II: This is the meat of the book, where Scrooge is educated of his wrongful ways.

Part III: Scrooge realizes his wrongs, corrects them, and becomes a generous man, and finds himself no longer lonely.

See the arc? It's a common practice to preach the character arc in literature and writing classes, along with the ol plotting techniques.

But what about the reader arc?

Huh? Reader arc? What the hell is that?

It's the arc that the reader has going into a book and coming out.

When I write, I think not how to arc the characters in the book, but how to arc the ~reader~ of the book, of the story. I think, What will the reader remember about this story? What will I tell Dear Reader that they haven't already heard?

How will I change Dear Reader's view of the world?

I don't think much about the character arc at all, because that's not the point of good literature, now is it.

The point is arcing Dear Reader, folks, not your characters.

- Eric

No comments: