I was reading over some of my old story notes today, and I found a beautiful quote scrawled in the margin. I don’t know where it came from, but here it is.
Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.
Of course, I immediately sketched out a picture in my mind. I would like to say you could use this quote to sketch out any character’s story arc, but I’m not sure it is in the correct order.
Many stories do start with a terrible pain, followed by worry that the pain will be experienced again, and ending with either conquering the worry, the sorrow, both, or repeating the sorrow and surviving. One example I can think of (and I’m sure this could be disputed) is Katniss Everdeen, from the Hunger Games. I’m not really a huge fan of the Hunger Games, although I did enjoy them and had a literary crush on Peeta, but I thought Katniss’ character arc was well done.
Points in Katniss’ character arc which meet with above quotation:
Sorrow–Katniss grieves over the loss of her father, and the happy (sort of) life she used to have. She has come to terms with her new existence of survival, but she still feels sorrow over what has been lost.
Worry–This is the main state of the character arc in a novel. Katniss is in a constant state of worry, spanning over all three books. She is worried that her family won’t be able to survive without her if she dies; she is worried she will die; she is worried President Snow will hurt her family; she is worried about Peeta; she is worried about Gale; she is worried about…you see what I mean. 😉
Faith–I keep trying to replace faith with hope, but I think, in this case, they are almost synonymous. Spoilers, here…I think…. Only at the very end does Katniss learn to hope, and to have faith in hope.
Why did I use the Hunger Games trilogy as an example? Because I’m lazy and didn’t want to do any deep literary thinking. Yeah, bad me.
However, sorrow, worry, and faith, when arranged in different orders, have the potential to tell EXTREMELY different stories.
What do you think? Does the SWF arc, in any form, apply to your story, or a story you love? What is your favorite arrangement of the SWF arc? Why?