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Characterization, Editing, Writing

The Story and the Story

There’s a great scene in The Sopranos where Christopher Moltisanti is explaining the idea of the character arc to fellow gangster and partner in crime, Paulie Gaultieri.Christopher says, “You ever feel like nothin’ good was ever going to happen to you?”  To which Paulie, in his infinite wisdom, replies, “Yeah. And nothin’ did. So what? I’m alive, I’m survivin'”  This, in a nutshell, could explain the current draft of my novel.  A lot of bad shit happens and the main character has to get from point A to point B without, I don’t know, being eaten by a giant snake, being mindfucked by a wayward magister of the Golden Dawn or imprisoned by a dark faerie lord.  So what?  Elizabeth is alive at the end.  Isn’t that enough?  As Christopher Moltisanti says, no, indeed it is not.  In a flash of introspection, he tells Paulie that for him, life just isn’t about survival, saying to his fellow mafioso how “it says in these movie writing books that every character has an arc…Like everybody starts out somewheres. and they do something, something gets done to them and it changes their life. That’s called an arc. Where’s my arc?”

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