Character Arc Development & The Spanish Coin

I’ve been reading about character arc and how to develop it. This has made me reflect on my 95,000-word historical fiction manuscript.

The Spanish Coin

The working title for my novel is The Spanish Coin. It begins with a dead body. The main character is Nancy. There is a cast of characters, some of whom support Nancy and one who sets out to ruin her. The story is set in South Carolina in 1771.

The main plot is about determining who murdered the local pastor. Was it Nancy?

There is a subplot about a black male slave and a free black woman. Their story runs throughout the book.

There is a subplot about Nancy’s friend, Betty, and a stranger who visits the community.

The Betrayal

Then there is the sequel that I’ve plotted out. Its working title is The Betrayal. In fact, I’ve outlined what appears to be three books to follow the story I started in The Spanish Coin. I’ve been working on this series for more than a decade, but first I need to get The Spanish Coin published.

Character Arc

There are three types of character arc, according to author and blogger K.M. Weiland:  positive, flat, and negative. As I understand it,  a positive character arc is one in which the character changes for the better or perhaps discovers she or he is stronger than they’d thought. A flat arc is one in which characters take on the world or the problem the world throws at them, but they aren’t changed inside or not changed much. Negative arcs are sometimes found when the character deals with failure.

My reading this week has brought to my attention how much my character development in The Spanish Coin sets the ground work for any books that might follow. Since I only planned to write one book, I did not have in mind how character development in The Spanish Coin would influence the plotting of sequels. I got so involved with the main and secondary characters that I wanted to know what happened to them. So far, I have an 11,000-word outline.

I need to review The Spanish Coin manuscript to look for changes I need to make regarding character development and character arc in light of my plan to continue some of the characters’s stories in additional books. With that accomplished, I need to stop procrastinating and hire an editor to evaluate the manuscript.

Until my next blog post in a few days, I hope you have a good book to read. If you are a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

Janet

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