The following terms are often used in Plotting and Novel Structure:
A catalyst in the form of a challenge will force the hero to rise up and embrace his strengths in order to emerge victorious. Challenges are never easy, and even if the character believes himself to be capable, it is the author’s job to show that he isn’t—not, at least, until he puts in far more work and effort. Failures and mistakes will make the hero question who he is. To win, he must recommit to the task by acknowledging his weaknesses and overcoming them by shedding flaws and fears, achieving self-growth, gaining more skills, seeking out critical knowledge, or whatever else applies.
This character arc is the most common in storytelling. During the course of the story, the hero undergoes a much-needed internal transformation, which allows him to free himself from the fears, biases, and emotional wounds of his past. Without this baggage clouding his perspective and steering his actions, the hero is able to view his situation with clarity and act from a position of strength—not fear—which leads to achievement and fulfillment.
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By Tanya Gold
Common advice for writers is to read, read, and read more. Read voraciously. Read widely. You need to know your genre inside and out to write it well. The same advice should be given to developmental editors.
Developmental editors should understand the kinds of books they are working on just as well as writers should. We need to know what readers expect so that we can help our clients deliver. We should be reading the classics to understand the genre’s history, the most popular recent books in the genres we work in, and books that have pushed at the boundaries of the genre.
We also need to go beyond that. We need to develop and maintain a current understanding of the writing craft — the how and why of storytelling.
I’m constantly spending time with writing craft books. I particularly like to carve out time for them after I finish my first pass on a manuscript and have taken the time to write down my initial thoughts and ideas. Reading these books gives me a way of distancing myself from the story to gain further insight, and helps me simultaneously amplify my thoughts.
Reading writing craft books not only helps developmental editors stay on top of how writers are currently thinking about storytelling. It can also help us find new ways of explaining complex aspects of storytelling to an author. See More . . .