Use this arc to document your story–plot the points of your story on the arc, and you’ll see if it goes off the rails at all, and how to implement a bit of flow and proper story arc to your story in order to get it arcing in the right direction. Every story follows a natural arc–it begins, you introduce the characters, they find out about one another and develop feelings and define their own inner conflict that leads to external conflict. Then, Crisis! The black moment where it looks as though they’ll never get together, followed by a realization of what they want and who they are, a coming together, and then a resolution of the situation leading to the Happily Ever After (HEA).
*Note* This is one example. There are tons out there, some with a sharp, short start to the arc and a longer resolution period, and some with a long build up and a short, sharp resolution period. The point of them is to make notes on this type of arc to see where your story is: where do YOU introduce your characters? Where is YOUR black moment? Does the first sex scene happen before the first kiss? If it does, is that a problem/does it make sense? Do you start resolving the problem before the black moment has even happened? If you do, can you do something to change that, and make the black moment that much stronger by not already starting it’s resolution before hand, thus making it even blacker? If you make simple notes along this type of arc, you’ll see where you may need to move some chapters around, insert extra scenes, etc.
Here is another arc–this one shows the balance of the story arc against the character arc.
When you’re building a story, you have (at least) two layers:
You’ve got a story arc, with a beginning, middle and end, and a logical progression through each step.
And you’ve also got a character arc, where you meet the character and see how the story changes them as they go along. They start one way, and end up another. This doesn’t have to be some huge change–they can just learn something about themselves, or learn to think differenlty about something particular. They can sense they have feelings for someone, particularly in a series where those feelings could develop in another book.
But they MUST change in some way. A character that is exactly the same from first moment to last is static and boring. Dynamic characters shift with the story, and by the time the story is resolved, so too should the character have some kind of personal revelation/resolution as well.
And you don’t want them changing at odds with your story. Some big self understanding that happens before your black moment doesn’t work–it’s the black moment that drives the characters growth. And you don’t want to struggle forever to get the character growth–if your story is done, your character should be about there as well. You don’t want another fifty pages of character growth when the story has long finished.