Development drives Conflict
All stories are about people, even when they're
about rabbits. And the stories that move us most,
the ones that stick inside years later, are those
inhabited by characters we can connect with and
And no characters resonate more than those who in
the course of a story learned how to transcend their
own flaws and weaknesses to do something great—this
is known as a Character Arc.
And by great I don’t mean saving the world, for
often the quietest moments are the ones in which
characters find their greatness. The moments that
truly define us are almost always personal, times
when we’re able to overcome our own limitations and
rise to be something more.
rocky path of personal growth and development a
character undergoes in a story, usually unwillingly,
during which the character wrestles with and
eventually overcomes some or all of a serious
emotional fear, limitation, block or wound.
In a character's development he or she might
lack of courage
or inner doubts
o lack of ethics
o learning to love
o trauma from the past
o errors in thinking, etc.
imperfections, quirks and vices make a character
more real & appealing.
They humanize a character. The audience can
identify with them. Flaws and imperfections give
a character somewhere to go and progress toward
in the story. The development of a character is
only interesting if they overcome something.
A great example of a character arc
– Tom Cruise’s character in "Rain Man."
– Cruise is a ruthless car dealer who kidnaps his
autistic brother because he feels cheated about not
receiving any money from his father's will.
End of Arc
– After a cross-country journey with his brother, he
learns the importance of family and turns down the
Role of a Character Arc
Keeps the tension high and the conflict going.
Serves as the “inner” conflict and is always
mirrored by the story's “outer” conflict.
The Arc is the internal change the hero goes through
in a story.
DieHard: Inner conflict = overcome
internal weaknesses to be able to get back
together with wife; Outer conflict = fight
bad guys who have taken over wife’s building.
It can be positive change of character—a happy
Or a negative or no change—which gives us a
Characters who remain essentially the same from
beginning to end are fatally flawed. They have
learned nothing from their experience and have
shown no growth.
Or the character is already ‘good’ and doesn’t
change (e.g. James Bond, Braveheart, John
Development of a
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article about Character Arc and Story Structure