Creating Character Arcs: Part 2

Character Arcs, Act 2: Leaving the Lie

This act centers around the fallout around the Lie being stripped away from our protagonists. Writer, Brandon Sanderson describes it as the point where the hero starts taking, “real, proactive action — with often bad results.”

Thor: Thor still clings to his Lie when he arrives on Earth and is forced to live as a normal human being. He makes demands when confined to a hospital bed and throws his title as the son of Odin around.

But instead of receiving the usual fawning treatment he would at this declaration, he just gets sedated and treated like he’s unhinged. Thor has to spend the rest of act 2 learning humility and building relationships with the people on Earth.

He becomes invested in Jane’s research and life. His inability to left Mjolnir shows that he isn’t worthy because of his attachment to the Lie that might makes right. So, he has to earn it back by showing compassion and selflessness. This leads Thor to take on Loki’s Destroyer robot and facing down with his brother in the final confrontation.

The Prince of Egypt:

Meanwhile, Moses is still in his own environment, but he’s forced to view it from a different perspective. When Moses’ pleas for the overseer to stop whipping an old slave don’t work, Moses pushes the overseer off the scaffolding, accidentally killing him.

Moses’ action against the Lie of his previously sheltered existence in a dramatic way. This is Moses’ first steps towards tearing down the system of slavery.

Unlike Thor, Moses then goes into self-exile, hating being surrounded by the Lie that defined his life. He then makes a new life for himself among the people of Tziporah, the woman his people took as a slave. After some inevitable awkwardness, Moses finds his place among his new home as a Shepard and eventually falls in love with Tziporah.

Moses has successfully left the Lie behind and constructed a new life. That is until God recruits him to return home and free his people. This leads Moses to confront his brother, who stubbornly refuses to free the slaves.

The conclusion has the heroes facing down the Lie and the antagonists who refuse to let go of theirs.

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