The Covenant of the Arc

As I work on my novel, I’ve been thinking a lot about plot and motivation and all these other things that are supposed to make my story better. A few months ago I wrote about Save the Cat!, a screenwriting book by Blake Snyder. One of my favorite things that he talked about is The Covenant of the Arc.

Basically, The Covenant of the Arc is a screenwriting “law” that says every single character (except the bad guy) has to change over the course of the story. As an example, he referenced Pretty Woman. Richard Gere changed, Julia Roberts changed, Laura San Giacomo changed. Even Hector Elizondo changed by the end of the movie. Jason Alexander, the “bad guy,” didn’t. What that says, is that the story is so important, so life-changing to every character, that they can’t help but grow and change as a result.

It’s true in life. The people who succeed are the ones who are able to transform, the ones who can edit their stories until they shine. Seeing transformation gives people hope. We all want to believe that change is possible, that things can get better.

So to everyone working on a story, whether it’s a first draft or a final edit, screenplay or NaNo novel, make sure you give your character’s a chance to change.

New Words since NaNo began: 2828
Total Words written & kept on WiP: 8854


If you’d like a chance to win a book From Me to You, go to the post below to enter. You have until midnight PST on Thursday, November 11 to win The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen or an ARC of Crossing Over by Anna Kendall.

20 thoughts on “The Covenant of the Arc

  1. Great advice! I'm in my second week of revising my first draft and I keep laughing to myself – did I really write that. Shock, horror. Yep, there's plenty of room and lots of changes coming.

    All the best for Nano! 😉

  2. This is synching in with what I'm trying to do right now, between drafts–figure out each char's goal and some big obstacles toward it. And, yay, for the reminder that the antagonist DOESN'T change–part of their big problem, right there. 🙂

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