The Characteristic Moment. [19/52]

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I just finished reading K.M. Weiland’s book Creating Character Arcs. The book is full of practical tips and explanations on different types of character arcs. I highly recommend it. There was one part that stood out to me the most.

Creating the characteristic moment.

She defines the characteristic moment as an opening scene where the audience first meets the protagonist, and from their actions, we learn a ton of things about them. Here are a few things she lists as goals for the characteristic moment to achieve:

  • Introduce your protagonist.

  • (Probably) reveal your protagonist’s name.

  • Indicate your protagonist’s gender, age, nationality, and possibly his occupation.

  • Indicate important physical characteristics.

  • Indicate his role in the story (i.e., that he is the protagonist).

  • Demonstrate the prevailing aspect of his personality.

  • Hook readers’ sympathy and/or their interest.

  • Show the protagonist’s scene goal.

  • Indicate the protagonist’s story goal.

The characteristic moment is a scene where your audience will get their first impression of your character. It’s one of the most important scenes in your book. So, take your time crafting a memorable scene that convinces your readers to invest in your character.

For examples of characteristic moments done well, and a full explanation of the characteristic moment, make sure to check out this blog post by K.M. Weiland. And for a deep dive into creating character arcs, check out her book Creating Character Arcs.

Jump. Build, Fly.
F.C. Shultz