Everyone loves a good redemption story. It is one of the aspects that I believe helped make the original Star Wars trilogy so endearing: Watching Darth Vader rise from darkness to save his son. Redemption is also a hopeful message. Not only does it assure us that anyone can become the good guy, it gives a feeling of control. If these characters are so in charge of their destiny, than maybe we can be too.
Today’s post looks at some ways to write a successful redemption arc. This is by no means a definitive “how-to.” Writing is variable and unique – pretty much every rule can be broken by someone who knows what they’re doing to achieve a powerful effect.
Within the last week, I decided to revisit the show – in part because people were saying really good things about the ending. I am glad I did. My initial comments on She-Ra (I’m not writing out the full title every time) were overly critical and harsh. It was after all just a first season.
Okay…since I’m watching the ending of Game of Thrones (season 8) every weekend, I naturally have a lot of thoughts on it. Without getting into too much – I don’t like it. Kudos to you if you do, but I personally feel like there is a lot lacking in Game of Thrones – and really that there has been a lot lacking for a while – now it’s just all coming to a head.
One of the aspects I miss the most: character writing. Concluding character arcs is very difficult, especially if it’s over the course of multiple novels or several years of television. Even when you’re on point, there are certain character developments that require extra time and care to make sure they’re done well. Mental illness is one such issue. When executed poorly, creating mental illness in a character can be seen as lazy – a contrivance for plot rather than a natural character evolution. In the worst cases, it can be really offensive to those out there who are actually suffering.
Mental illness is one of the most challenging characters arcs to create well. So – how do you do it?