Sounds like you prefer plot-driven to character-driven works? I think it's a spectrum, with most works being somewhere in the middle, so there's both a plot arc and one or more character arcs, but some works are strongly to one end or the other. That's my general impression, at any rate.Corvid said:Is this good/bad? Who could say?
But, just thinking about this today as I work on my latest, my favorite movies, or stories I gravitate towards, all feature fairly arc-less protagonists.
Back to the Future, Mad Max: Fury Road, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 3:10 to Yuma, Aliens
I also enjoy Jack Reacher novels, and westerns where the laconic hero 'does stuff', and then it ends.
Not sure what any of this says about me as a writer, but I do think it goes to show you don't necessarily have to adhere to the popular notion of imbuing POV's with arcs in order to craft something readers/audiences will find satisfying.
Yes, the spectrum thing resonates... I recall a Brandon Sanderson lecture (or maybe it was a Q & A, can't remember) where he talked about sliding scales for these kinds of things.Becca Mills said:Sounds like you prefer plot-driven to character-driven works? I think it's a spectrum, with most works being somewhere in the middle, so there's both a plot arc and one or more character arcs, but some works are strongly to one end or the other. That's my general impression, at any rate.
That's right, I'd forgotten all about '80s TV. The Three's Company gang, Sonny Crockett, Thomas Magnum, Ben Matlock, B.A. Baracus... little if any arc to be found, and yet, I loved those shows. Maybe that's why I loved them - the same way I love certain T-shirts I've had for 15+ years, and are practically falling apart at the seams.Douglas Milewski said:Supporting examples are both numerous and omnipresent. Virtually all episodic TV, well into the 80's, had no character arcs.
I feel like this is also a list of movies that bucked popular trends. Back to the future took the summer adventure movie, added classic sci-fi elements, and took on something of an odd relationship of an older scientist and his high school age friend. Fury Road gave us a stylized post-apoc world with 80s cocaine-hollywood levels of weirdness and even subverted the series protagonist from Max to Furyosa. No Country was a modern western, which, when has that happened, before or since? Aliens took star trek like sci-fi, turned the lights down low, and let HR Geiger do whatever he wanted. And The Big Lebowski goes out of it's way to be the structurally weirdest movie ever. Lazy protagonist who gets in an ever escalating problem and it's narrated by a cowboy? Sure! But just because it somehow works.Corvid said:Back to the Future, Mad Max: Fury Road, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 3:10 to Yuma, Aliens
Hmm, yes, I think you're right.Crystal_ said:I don't know if I agree those films are without character arcs. They may not have strong arcs but in most of them at least one character has an arc.
In Back to the Future, Marty's dad has a strong arc (though in an untraditional way) and Marty also has a shift in his perspective.
This might definitely be true, but I'm the exact opposite as a reader. I'm a guy and I 95% of the time prefer character stories. I'd bet that you are right though, and I'm just a little strange maybeShawnaReads said:Not to reinforce stereotypes or anything, but I think it's pretty well understood that women tend to be drawn more to characters/relationships and men are more likely to be drawn to plot/action-heavy stories. In extremely general terms, of course, with plenty of exceptions. But I think this is why a lot of men say they don't read female authors. They claim that women don't write as well or don't write interesting stories, but what they really mean is that they (the readers) find character/relationship stuff boring and they want to read about action.
In BTTF I think Marty comes to realise people truly do have agency over their lives and can change how things go, time travel or not - i.e. if his parents had made different decisions they wouldn't have ended up poor. In the trilogy as a whole he learns not to care about peer pressure etc and be a more responsible adult, i.e. not getting into a drag race because somebody called him chicken.Corvid said:Back to the Future, Mad Max: Fury Road, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 3:10 to Yuma, Aliens
Fury Road is actually Furiosa's story. Max is a side character. Furious experiences the change and the struggles with it.ShaneCarrow said:All the Mad Max films (except the first, which is an odd film, maybe why I love it so much) have a very old, cliched character arc: the lone male reluctant hero who doesn't care about anyone but himself but eventually comes to care about and protect others. See also Han Solo, Kevin Costner in Waterworld, the protagonists of half the Westerns ever made... there's a thousand of them.
Indy experiences change in each film. In Raiders he overcomes his fear of snakes, rekindles a relationship he'd thought was lost, and overcomes his skepticism of religious belief. In temple, it's craving fortune and glory to prioritizing a local culture over his own reward, and in Crusade he confronts his opinion of his father.I haven't seen The Big Lebowski or 3:10 to Yuma but I think you are probably correct about Raiders of the Lost Ark, because Lucas and Spielberg really just based it off old, simplistic 1930s and 1940s matinee adventure serials.
I would imagine only a very small percentage of people actually fit completely into all the gender stereotypes, if any. I fall along the expected female line in this way (although I think that's been getting more true as I get older; when I was a teen, I read mostly plot-based stories; I never read a romance book until my mid-twenties, and only because a male relative recommended one), but I definitely fall into the expected male stereotype in other ways.NikOK said:This might definitely be true, but I'm the exact opposite as a reader. I'm a guy and I 95% of the time prefer character stories. I'd bet that you are right though, and I'm just a little strange maybe
Ha, nice. This is almost exactly how I pick books too, so I like your style Someone criticized a book I did once by saying, "It's like the reader is sitting in a dingy bar listening to the characters tell stories" and I was like, hmm, I know you are trying to say that as a bad thing but it's also precisely what I was going for. I took it as a win overall.Louise Bates said:I'm pretty much the exact opposite--I will happily read a book with no plot that's just the characters talking and meandering about and living their daily lives (bonus points if those daily lives are in a fantasy world or on a spaceship). I have to fight with my stories to make sure there's enough plot and it's not just endless conversation and introspection! There's definitely room for all sorts of preferences, and it's one of the things I love about indie publishing, that pretty much every reader can find a book for them, whether it fits in the mainstream "this is the way a story must be constructed" or not. All plot and no character arc? You got it! All characters and no plot? There's some of that, too. Books for every type of reader!