Development of a character arcs by K. M. Weiland

Development of a character arc by K. M. Weiland, In his book ‘creating character arcs K. M. Weiland, describe the process of foundation of the character arc ( the protagonist) in a most compiling way. Simply, By asking some questions about the lie that character believes in. In his – Creating character arcs he focused on bringing a character to unforgettable and realistic life to take a story from good to great. He divided the character arc into three basic structures –

creating character arc
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  • The positive change arc
  • The flat arc
  • The negative change arc

In the positive change arc, he described the process of foundation of a positive change character arc by asking some simple questions.


  • What misconception does your protagonist have about himself or the world?

The protagonist must have the flaws in order to create a great story. If a character doesn’t have any flaws and he is perfect, there’s no need for a change and if no change there’s no need to learn anything, conclusion, there is no need to tell a story. For this, he needs to have the certain misconception about either himself or his world. So it’s really important to figure out his flaws and misconception in the first step while telling a story.

Some examples – Logan ( 2017) – There is nothing left to fight for. The people he loves die. Leon (1994) – it’s better to have no one in our lives . Cars – it’s all a one man show. Angry Birds (2016) – All peoples hate me and think not capable of anything. Thor – Might makes right. Jane Eyre – The only way to earn love is through servitude. What About Bob? – People will only pay attention to you if they think you’re crazy.


  • What is he lacking mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, as a result?

If a character has certain flaws, he must be lacking and his needs are to overcome this. His desire for feeling his flaws drives the plot by an unexpected change in his normal world.

Example – Angry Birds (2016) – Inability to express, greed, shame to open up. Frozen (2014) Easily believes in everyone and get hurt.


  • How is the interior Lie reflected in the character’s exterior world?

Here come the signs and symptoms, suppose someone is suffering from a disease which is internal itself, the signs and symptoms of the disease appear as an external manifestation of internal changes. In characterization, happens the same, the same, as a character do things which reflects his personality and create an outcome which results in imbalance and uncomfortable situation in his normal world.

examples – Logan (2017) – Fear that he will loose the one he loves. Children’s of men (2017)- Accept contract only to save the girl child for money. Toy Story – Greed that his owner don’t care anymore.


  • When the story opens, is the Lie making his life miserable? If so, how?

Because of certain flaws and misconception he must go through some problems, he needs to conquer. But to create a strong character arc, in the opening of the story, the character accept his life and try to move forward with it without changing himself or his normal world. Until an inciting event change him to change the plot dynamically.

Example – Logan (2017) – The lie he believes in drive the plot as the professor was dying. Everything around his world is going miserable towards the end of mutants species. And he don’t care about all this Children’s of men (2017) – The normal world of the protagonist is towards an end. But protagonist don’t give a shit about it.

  • If not, will the Inciting Event and/or the First Plot Point begin to make him uncomfortable as a result of his Lie?

The great plot described by many screenwriters is where a character is in a world where everything that is supposed to be normal to him is creating a miserable world and an unexpected event happened in his story destroy his normal world. In the first part, the character is living in a misconception which definitely going to trouble him at a certain point. That point in a story is the first plot point which creates a dynamic change in character.

Example – Leon the professional (1994) – Entry of Methilda in Leon life changes the plot subsequently. Logan ( 2017) – The entry of little girl in his life make him uncomfortable as the lie he believes in.


  • Does your character’s Lie require any qualifiers to narrow its focus?

In the world full of individuals, every character differs from other in many ways. But there are some of them gives justice to character arc by providing relevant value. These characters are maybe subplot characters, assistant actor (side actors). Etc.   Example –

  • What are the symptoms of your character’s Lie?

There is a certain manifestation of internal behavior of a character. These are commonly the characteristic mental symptoms ( guiding symptoms). These symptoms reflect and create an impact on characters life. We need to note these symptoms and embed inside the story. These symptoms are greed, horrible secret, inability to forgive, hurt at extreme, guilt, fear, etc.     By finding the appropriate answer for these questions, you can create a major character for your story. For creating a strong character arc (the protagonist) you need to focus on the changes happen in the character throughout the story.


2 thoughts on “Development of a character arcs by K. M. Weiland

  • July 22, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    K.M.Weiland is a “she”. Just saying…


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