82. Crafting Characters: Arcs
This week JJ and Kelly conclude their Crafting Characters series with NARRATIVE ARCS. Apologies for sounding scatterbrained; JJ was up until the wee hours trying (and failing) to kill a video game boss while Kelly has the plague.
What distinguishes a novel from shorter forms of fiction is the trajectory of narrative change. The "point" of a novel is transformation.
Either a character transforms, or the world around the character transforms.
Transformation and evolution are not necessarily consistent; sometimes characters backslide, or the world loses ground.
Not only do characters and the world transform, but the reader transforms as well.
What We're Working On
Kelly is still catching up on agenting stuff (when not dying of the plague) and trying to figure out how to update her manuscript wishlist.
JJ had a breakthrough on her current WIP!
What We're Reading/Books Discussed
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Off Menu Recommendations
What You're Asking
In the podcast, you talk about leaning on archetypes in queries to help define the story at a glance. How explicitly do you recommend writers call out relevant archetypes in queries? —Allison Kade
The point of a query is to give a general sense of premise, character, stakes, and the hint of a narrative arc. You don't need to tell us the entire story, just an idea of where it's going. Explicitly calling out archetypes can veer into "book report" query, so it's not necessary. Knowing what archetypal narrative your story falls into will help shape the query, but if you say it, you'd be telling and not showing.
What You're Saying
★★★★★ For Aspiring Authors or Ya Know... —AE Beckham
Heard about this podcast through my coworker Mike who's a friend of the two hosts and I'm so glad he told me about and that I started listening. It's given me such a wealth of information about the publishing world and how to write a book that it's made me so excited to start editing the first draft of my book! I love Kelly and JJ's back and forth rapport that only 2 really good fr tends can have while talking about something they're passionate about, it makes things that sound boring at face value (the ins and outs of publishing) really interesting and fun to learn about. Thank you so much for this podcast!
Thank you, AE, and thank you, Mike!
That’s all for this week! Next week we will be talking about the publishing industry again with Publishing Relationships. So as always if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, send us an ask on Tumblr, or tweet using the hashtag #askpubcrawl!