As writers we strive to show time passing through character arcs. We know they had a past because they face personal issues during the story, and this raises a question. Should we consider what happens when their personal issues are resolved?
Most of us dream of a better life in the future. Some of us make our dreams come true and others, like myself, dream pipe dreams that may never happen. All our dreams put hope and motivation in our hearts.
Personally, I think too much about the past and wish I had the philosophy Bossman does. He believes that without all the chaos and heartache in our pasts we wouldn’t be the lovable people we are today.
Whether I agree or not, I prove the theory when I write. My characters are the way they are because I’ve given them a backstory.
Every once in a while I rewatch a series. Lately I’ve been rotating through Bones, Castle and Elementary and I’m noting the arcs in the main characters.
Why some character arcs work:
Castle grows as a writer and adds to his resume by becoming a private investigator.
The addiction Holmes and Booth have is a constant reminder of human frailty. And I think, a better arc because no one really recovers from addiction. It hangs over a person’s head and will weasel its way back to the forefront at any opportunity. The threat is a constant and daily threat.
Joan Watson has moved from doctor to life/addiction coach to investigator, therefore, the door is open to other careers as she changes with her personal needs.
Why Some arcs end:
Kate Beckett was admired from the start. She was strong, level-headed and tortured by her mother’s murder. Eventually she lands up resolving the murder and finds peace. Letting her find peace stopped the series from moving forward. They did try sending her to the FBI and giving her a conspiracy to solve but they didn’t have the same oomph. Instead of getting rid of the character the network decided to cancel the show.
I guess what I’m saying is, even if you don’t have plans for a series leaving the door open and hinting at future dips in the road isn’t such a bad thing. It leaves the author and the characters places to go and grow.
Do you or your characters ever wonder if they’ll find peace?