What is a character arc anyway?

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers – and writing consultants – is here to explain one of the most overused, yet still mysterious, of writing terms.

Not a character arc, but a cool arch, yeah?

by Nathan Bransford

“Character arcs” are important. You hear about them often. But… what’s a character arc?

A character arc is the change that a character undergoes over the course of a story.

For example, a character might start off a novel naive and weak and gain strength and courage. Or they might start off confident and successful and descend into madness and despair.

Here are the elements of a story that underly a character arc:

  1. A character wants something
  2. The character goes on a journey (external or internal)
  3. The character encounters obstacles that force them to evolve
  4. There’s a climax and the character emerges changed

A character wants something

A character arc opens when you establish something that character wants. The reader naturally wonders: are they going to get that thing?

Readers are pulled through the story waiting to see if the character is going to get that big thing they want. These desires can be external (saving a kingdom, finding a talisman) or internal (redemption, ) or both.

A character’s motivation is the engine of the story.

The character goes on a journey

When the character wants that big thing they need to go after it.

This sends them on a journey, whether that’s a literal journey through a world or realm, or an internal journey such as battling mental illness or making a key decision.

Along the way…

The character encounters obstacles

It should not be easy for the character to get what they want. They should encounter obstacles along the way in ascending intensity.

The obstacles come in the form of other characters with competing desires (especially villains) and forces outside of the character’s control within the setting.

As the character encounters these obstacles, here is the crux of the character arc: they are forced to change and evolve.

Sometimes this means learning new skills, talents, and powers, and sometimes this can mean that the character is overwhelmed and begins to unravel….

Read it all at Nathan Bransford’s super helpful blog

Check out Nathan’s new book

Cartoon: The End

TVWriter™’s all-time favorite artist/philosopher, Grant Snider, reminds us that endings aren’t always what they seem, especially when we encounter them while reading.


See more of Grant Snider’s extraordinary perception of human creativity at Incidental Comics, HERE

Buy Grant’s new book, What Color is Night? at Amazon.Com!

Herbie J Pilato On How to Create & Produce a TV Show that SELLS

EDITOR’S NOTE: TVWriter™ legendary Contributing Editor Emeritus Herbie J Pilato has something to say that 99% of those who visit TVWriter™ want – and need to hear. Take is away, HJ!


by Herbie J Pilato

I have wanted my own TV show ever since I was a little kid.

Who hasn’t, right?

Especially in today’s all-access media/communications world in which anything is possible.

But Then Again with Herbie J Pilato, my new classic TV talk show (now streaming on Amazon Prime, Shout! Factory TV, and several other media outlets), did not happen overnight.

It took more like over 50 years, following decades of branding myself a classic TV “go-to-guy,” either as the author of various classic TV companion books or through the general chronicling and celebration of classic TV via various websites, magazine and newspaper articles, appearances on entertainment news TV or radio shows or documentaries (for which I either wrote, consulted on or produced).

The show happened for a lot of reasons…and I certainly didn’t do it alone, but rather with a generous and unending amount of support from business partners and investors; countless friends, family members and social media followers….

Read it all at medium.com


Writer/producer Herbie J Pilato is the host ofclassic TV talk show THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, now streaming on Amazon Prime, Founder and Executive Director of The Classic TV Preservation Society, and author of several classic TV companion books. He has been part of TVWriter™ for 20 years and is Contributing Editor Emeritus. Learn more about Herbie J HERE. This article first appeared in Medium.

Guide to not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village

This one’s for all you English murder mystery fans out there. Don’t let the Midsomer Murders Syndrome happen to you!

Mystery writers, OTOH, take notes cuz you’re about to see a template to respect!


by Katherine Tegen

It’s happened. You’ve finally taken that dream trip to England. You have seen Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park. You rode in a London cab and walked all over the Tower of London. Now you’ve decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and stretch your legs in the verdant countryside of these green and pleasant lands. You’ve seen all the shows. You know what to expect. You’ll drink a pint in the sunny courtyard of a local pub. You’ll wander down charming alleyways between stone cottages. Residents will tip their flat caps at you as they bicycle along cobblestone streets. It will be idyllic.

Unless you end up in an English Murder Village. It’s easy enough to do. You may not know you are in a Murder Village, as they look like all other villages. So when you visit Womble Hollow or Shrimpling or Pickles-in-the-Woods or Nasty Bottom or Wombat-on-Sea or wherever you are going, you must have a plan. Below is a list of sensible precautions you can take on any trip to an English village. Follow them and you may just live.

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PLACES TO AVOID

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The village fête

The village fête is a fair, a celebration on the village green. They toss coconuts, judge cakes, drink tea, and whack toy rats with mallets. It’s a nice way to spend a summer’s day and thin out the local population, because where there is a fête, there is murder. If you enter a town while the fête is happening, you are already dead. The tea urn is filled with poison. The sponge cakes are full of glass. There’s an axe in the fortune telling tent. The coconuts are bombs. It’s like the Hunger Games, but dangerous.

Anywhere with a vat

In English villages, vats only exist for drowning people—in beer, in pickling brine, in whiskey, in jam. This is doubly true if the vat was built by 14th century monks. If anyone offers to show you a vat, say you need to get something from your car, then start the engine and run them over. The police understand this sort of thing. Tell them about the vat….

Read it all at crimereads.com

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 Finalists!

28th PEOPLE’S PILOT FINALISTS
For contest ending November 1, 2019

COMEDY SERIES FINALISTS
(alphabetically)

ANTONIA ALLWAYS: ANTONIA JOINS THE UNION by Gordon Charles Phipps

ANTONIA ALLWAYS: WHO IS MERLIN by Gordon Phipps

DAMNED FOR ETERNITY by Paul Michael Lacy

FANTASIES FOR SALE by Jushua Kushner

I MEOW BACK by Sacha Kenton

KING ELIZABETH by Henry Cline

MY RIGHT-HAND MAN by Anthony Moschetto

MY SPASTIC MUM by Lark Lee

PAST THE BAR by Jim Norman

SHOOTING AT BALLERINAS by Hank Isaac (Web Series)

SINGLE #CRIME by N.J. London

THE PINSTRIPED PRIMATES by Kenneth Kleeman

DRAMA & ACTION SERIES FINALISTS
(alphabetically)

9 WILL FALL by Lee Hayes & Rufus Robertson

A CRACK IN THE SKY by Thomas Franey

AN ORCHID AMONG WEEDS by Mary Kate Allen

CHRISTINA ON-CALL by Corinna Mendis

CITADEL by Robert Glenn Plotner

ESCAPE by Robert Tinsley (Audio Drama)

FLASHBACKS by Arthur Tiersky

FRANK AND BRUNO by Lonny Anger

HIGHLAND DRIVE by Rosalyn Rosen

J.B. HICKOCK’S WEIRD WEST by Robert Tinsley (Audio Drama)

MR.ZAK by Lewis Ritter

SERGEANT SMACK by Ron Chepesiuk

SHOOTING STARS by Jorge C Perez

SOONER by Jack Wood

STARCHART by Gino DeMarco

THE CONSULTANTS by Alasdair McMullan

THE LAKESIDE CLUB by Carl Hippensteel

THE VILNA CHRONICLES by Ira Fuchs

TRANSFERENCE by Mark C. Spera


Congratulations, Finalists. Your work is extraordinary.

Once again, in both the Comedy and Action/Drama categories, the Finalists are separated by mere percentage points.

The median score for Comedy Finalists is 8.60 out of 10.00.

The median score for Drama Finalists is 8.85 out of 10.00.

The difference between the highest and lowest of the Comedy Finalists’ scores is a mere 0.95 points.

The difference between the highest and lowest of the Drama Finalists’ scores is even smaller – 0.50 points.

As this is being written, a final group of 12 new judges is giving the top scripts in each category a final read and making the ultimate determination of which entries are the best of the best.

Which means–

COMING IN TWO WEEKS: The announcement of the PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 Winners. This definitely is something you don’t want to miss!