Thursday, November 12, 2009

Looking for Arcs in All The Wrong Places

Since this blog is basically a big, fat window into my writing and my process, there is a good chance I will begin to repeat myself since I tend to struggle with similar issues with each book I write. However, the solution to those issues shifts slightly with each book, so hopefully there will be something of use to people in seeing those different solutions.

For example, one of the reasons I’m floundering with Theo Four is that I’m having a hard time pinpointing her internal arc. Frankly, it’s one of the challenges when writing a series with the same MC, giving that person an internal growth arc for each subsequent book. However, I think it is a vital part of the story.

I do have a bunch of internal things she learns. For example, she’s now seeing the world with her rational blinders off (due to what happened in book three) and she is hungry to understand WHO she is, how she got to be the way she is, and she begins to see the human cost of political actions, but I don’t have one cohesive umbrella under which to put all those things, such as there is no place like home, or she learns to accept herself. I wish I did, but I don’t.

So then I decided to rummage around looking for a theme, then see if that could lead me to a possible internal arc. Book Four is about Theo’s full initiation into the Other, her wandering in the desert/going into the woods and learning the answers to the mysteries that only she can provide.

It also occurred to me that this is the realization of all that she longed for in Book One. She’s going to Egypt with her parents and being asked to participate on a dig—to bring her talent to the project. Maybe she’s clinging blindly to that old goal, not realizing that she has outgrown that goal. She’s changed too much over the course of the last few books and she will never be in that simple or innocent place again. So while she’s gotten what she wished for, she herself has moved beyond that now.

Hm. I’m going to just keep plodding along and play with what I’ve got for a while. Maybe I’ll find a way to tie all these elements together under one internal arc umbrella. Heck, it could even be staring me right in the face and I’m just being too obtuse to see it.

Or maybe I’ll just pray that the big final scene at the end ties them all together. ☺


Sherrie Petersen said...

I love having this window into your mind :)

Anonymous said...

You always seem to hit on a question I'm struggling with--and you said it perfectly...the umbrella. I, too, am going to keep writing and thinking and hoping that the lightbulb will go off to show me what that overarching connection IS! Thanks. :)

Robin L said...

My mind is a scary place, Sherrie. Also, I owe you an email. :-)

And Becky, I totally plan that! :-)

Ariadne said...

I often like books that don't necessarily have a theme or growth (like "be yourself", etc.), leastways not one that is sitting there being so obvious it can detract from the story . (I speak in generalities, as I have never encountered this in your own works.) I like the theme or overall character growth to be more subtle.

Robin L said...

Ariadne, that's actually a great point. I don't like things too obvious, either.

So yeah, let's say I'm being subtle on purpose. :-)

dixie said...