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RPG Social => RPG Discussion => Topic started by: Seig on December 05, 2017, 02:01:16 AM

Title: Seig's Writing Seminars: Arc Nullification
Post by: Seig on December 05, 2017, 02:01:16 AM
      Hello everyone! If you don't know who I am yet. My name is Seig and I'm one of the Character Creation mods here. I've been a member here for coming on 3 years now, and have been roleplaying as a whole for another decade on top of that. So while I'm not a professional writer by any means, I have quite a bit of experience under my belt. So I wanted to do something with that knowledge to help the community.

       I'm starting a ((hopefully)) weekly discussion I'm calling "Seig's Writing Seminars" in order teach people about some of the lesser known pitfalls and troubles one can run into when writing a fictional Character or event. These will all be open discussions, so not only are questions welcome, they are encouraged. The point of these discussions is to to help us all grow as writers, myself included. Keep in mind that this is all drawn from my personal experiences and education. You may not feel the same way about a topic as I do, and that's ok! Tell me why you disagree. All opinions are welcome. Now, with that all said, let us dive into our first topic.

Arc Nullification

       The first question is, of course, what is arc nullification? Arc nullification is when an event or plot point changes a character in a way that undoes their previous character arc, either setting them back where they started or even just making the actions of said arc meaningless. It is honestly a very common pit to fall into. I have done it before as well. Most often than not, arc nullification occurs when a character goes through a second traumatic event. It is very easy to have the character relapse into exactly what they were after their first traumatic episode. If you've done this that's alright. It doesn't make your character bad. Just as maybe borrowing a cliche or two doesn't ruin a character.

       The next question then is, "How do I avoid arc nullification? Should my character not go through multiple tragedies?" Of course not, there is no need to limit yourself out of fear. The simple answer is to keep track of how your character has changed across their lives. I'm going to use our previous example as a guide to show what I mean. Let's take our PC here and give him a quick backstory.

      When he was a young boy he saw his best friend be murdered by Grimm because of a mistake he made. This caused him to have a crippling fear of being in charge of anyone's safety. It also makes it hard for him to get close to people. However after his first few years at Beacon, he gains friends that bring him his self confidence once again. Then our second tragedy strikes. One of his teammates is killed by a poor decision he made. Once again our PC is thrust into his worst fears. However, because of the time he spent with people at Beacon, and anyone else he has interacted with. He doesnt react exactly like he did last time. Now he shuts himself off from the group, helping them on missions where he can, but still refusing to take any form of leadership, even for a moment. But he stills tries to maintain those relationships he made. He still tries to keep close to these people. He is still scarred and damaged by the event. Yet he is still changed enough by his experiences, that instead of shunning the world as he did the first time, he would still try to have those relationships with his teammates. Even if they are a more distant one. His experiences between those two events changed the way that he deals with his personal tragedy. That is the secret to avoiding arc nullification. Just think about what your character has gone through that would shape their reactions differently than the way they would have in an earlier time of their life. Even a small change will form a stronger, more well defined character.

      Alright everyone! That brings us to the end of the first Seig's Writing Seminar. As I said before. Please feel free to add your questions or comments and I will be happy to answer any of them! I hope this helped you and I will see you next week! ((If i don't get lazy again))
Title: Re: Seig's Writing Seminars: Arc Nullification
Post by: Walter on December 05, 2017, 03:11:42 AM
I actually agree 100% on this. I think a good way to avoid arc nullification, while cliche, would be the whole 'pulling yourself out of the slump to do the right thing' thing. My mind immediately went to Simon after Kamina's death, being a grouchy bitch for a couple of episodes, despite having his confidence build up over the previous arc. But, he's still changed enough to try and save Nia's stupid ass.

Sure, it's replacing one cliche with another, but it's at least a pleasant one.
Title: Re: Seig's Writing Seminars: Arc Nullification
Post by: arcus_gray on December 05, 2017, 04:12:14 AM
A very interesting one since I was trying to arc nullify Gray because he is developing backwards. Is arc nullification an acceptable idea in terms of a character falling hard and getting back to their old selves or should there still be changes occurring?
Title: Re: Seig's Writing Seminars: Arc Nullification
Post by: Seig on December 05, 2017, 05:00:41 AM
A character trying to get back to their former selves is an arc in and of itself. If that is the characters motivation. Then it is absolutely fine.
Title: Re: Seig's Writing Seminars: Arc Nullification
Post by: nathan67003 on December 05, 2017, 06:18:43 AM
This is one of those rare times where I'm hyped for a seminar.