Book Review: Creating Character Arcs

Title: Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Weiland
Medium: Book
Genre: Nonfiction (writing, how to)

Initial Thoughts: As always when I read something by K.M. Weiland, I love the break down of how she looks at each part of what she’s talking about. In this case, it is Creating Character Arcs. There’s a great explanation of how character arc, structure, and theme all play an integral and inter-twining part of any story. So it really sets things up as you read and gives you something to pay attention to, to think on as you read. It takes something that can seem quite complicated and breaks it down into something not only quite manageable but a lot of fun.

Favorite Part: Once again, I love the examples. Just having examples is always helpful, but using the same examples throughout for each part is a great way to really get to SEE how each part plays into the whole and gives some concrete ideas of how it might look in your own story. This, combined with the clear explanations make this an invaluable resource on how to write proper character arcs.

Overall Impression: I really enjoyed this read and am finding it super helpful in my own planning. In fact, I am using the questions listed in this book for my own characters as I outline my current WIPs. It is organized in a clear, concise way that builds on each section. THere’s also a great FAQ about character arcs in general and a nice little section on character arcs in series which is helpful since I seem incapable of writing just one-off pieces… Go figure XD

Recommendation: I would recommend this for anyone that has ever had any questions on how to write a good character arc or who may need help with writing characters in general. This is also great for someone that may just not know how to set up a character arc. If you’ve read her Outlining and Structuring novels already, this is a must-read!

To check out this and others, go here! https://www.kmweiland.com/ For further reading, she also has a terrific writing blog here: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/

Book Review: Structuring Your Novel

Title: Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland
Medium: Book
Genre: Nonfiction (writing, how-to)

Initial Thoughts: The moment I hit the Introduction, I was very happy. I’ve always been an instinctual writer. I had read so much that I think I was using story structure without ever really knowing it. But just by reading the introduction, I get a sense of what story structure is and how it’s used, not just in writing, but in all art. As I read further, not only was I given some very clear definitions of structure, but given some concrete examples. And these examples were a variety, which was extraordinarily helpful. I’ve read several “How to” books now, particularly on writing as I am really trying to get serious about the craft, but one of the things that they lack is examples. Oh sure, most of them have something in there, just to give a hint about what they mean, but the examples the author gives are varied, so you can see what is possible.

Favorite Part: Definitely the examples! Not only were the definitions clear and something I could grasp, but adding in those examples, both in the explanations as well as at the end of each segment, was something that was super helpful! Especially as we went from overall story structure, then to scene structure, and even to sentence structure!

Overall Impression: I have enjoyed this book tremendously. I think it will help me to become a better writer and already, I have thought of something for a current work-in-progress that I think will be a much more solid opening than I had. In fact, I had been struggling with it for a bit. But reading this book gave me what I needed to get a much stronger opening that I think will help keep me on track for the rest of the book. I really couldn’t find anything I disliked about it or didn’t agree with other than maybe giving percentages on where certain things fall, but that’s more because when I see percentages, my mind skitters away from them XD. That doesn’t have to do with the book, though.

Recommendation: For anyone struggling with a current WIP, or for anything that has questions on story structure, especially if you haven’t been able to grasp it after reading other how-to’s on writing, this is a great resource and one I highly recommend!

To read this one and more of K.M. Weiland’s books, head to her website!