Character Arcs | Writing a Flat Arc

Welcome to the fourth post in my Character Arc series! In this series, we explore different types of character arcs and how to write them. In this post, we’ll be discussing the flat arc.

You can catch up on the previous posts in this series here:

What is a Flat Arc?

A flat arc is a type of character arc where the character does not undergo any significant internal change, but instead changes the world around them. This is a common arc for characters who are already confident, capable, and have a strong moral code.

Do I Know Any Characters with a Flat Arc?

A great example of a character with a flat arc is Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Throughout the series, Katniss remains true to her values and doesn’t change significantly as a person. However, her actions and decisions have a significant impact on the world around her, making her a powerful and important character.

How Do I Write a Flat Arc for my Character?

To write a flat arc, you need to identify what your character stands for and what values they hold. The goal is not to change the character, but to challenge and test their beliefs in a way that ultimately proves their worldview to be correct.

Here are some prompts to help you write a flat arc:

  • Define your character’s core belief or value that they hold onto throughout the story. This belief can be challenged, but the character remains steadfast in their conviction
  • Even though the character’s belief remains the same, they should still go through a journey throughout the story. This can be shown through the challenges they face, the decisions they make, and the lessons they learn
  • Have your character be proactive rather than reactive in pursuing their goals and beliefs
  • While the character’s belief may remain the same, there can still be complexity and nuance added to their personality. This can be done through their relationships, backstory, and personality traits
  • A flat arc character may have a steadfast belief, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be conflict in the story. Conflict can come from other characters or external factors that challenge the character’s belief
  • A flat arc character can still have a significant impact on the story and other characters. They can inspire others, be a mentor, or create change through their actions

When writing a flat arc, it’s important to focus on the impact the character has on the world around them. This means considering the consequences of their actions and how they affect the people and events in the story.

I hope this post has been helpful in understanding how to write a flat arc for your character. If you liked this post, be sure to check out the rest of the series for more tips on writing dynamic and engaging characters. Stay tuned for the next post on Writing a Shift Arc!

Photos in blog by myself, Sixteen Miles Out, and Rima Kruciene, and feature image photo by Nicole Honeywill

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