Can you tell a compelling character story without an arc? Turns out you can

(image via Sage Hyden official Twitter account)


A common piece of writing advice is that your main character must have a character arc. Today, I take a look at a number of well-regarded films where the main characters never change, and why these stories are still compelling. (synopsis via Laughing Squid (c) Sage Hyden)

As invitations to view a video essay go, this is my clear winner of 2018 by a beguilingly eclectic country mile:

“What do Paddington, The Hunger Games, Back to the Future and Gladiator have in common? Oh look, I made a video to explain …”

Seriously how could you resist that kind of entreaty? Answer, you cannot and by capitulating to superlatively good click-baiting (yes, it can be good; let this be examples A through Z, thank you) you get to enjoy what Laughing Squid rather poetically calls “a cinematically defiant video essay” by Sage Hyden who posts as Just Write, which posits that “a good story doesn’t have to require the main character undergoing a life-changing arc.”



What what you say? How can that be? Is it not against all the sacred laws of narrative logic?

You might well think so, but Hyden presents his case creatively and well, drawing on examples from a raft of rather divergent films to prove his point, and a grandly-argued, well-made point it is too.

Enjoy and put that damn arc away will ya?

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