My MC is a famous singer/songwriter who is bad at writing lyrics. Her goal is to write commercially successful, deep, serious songs. How do I design the character arc in relation to this goal? Also, The only obstacles I can think of are incompetence and living an easy life. Should the goal be tweaked?

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Welcome to the forum. For future reference, we do not answer questions about 'what to write,' which it sounds like you are asking. But, we do discuss application of the three act structure on a regular basis, and that is something you can look into to get some inspiration.

Question: How do I design the character arc in relation to this goal?

Answer: One possibility is to follow the three act structure.

First act: This is her normal life. She wants to write lyrics and for whatever reason thinks she is working toward it in a normal life. Maybe she is taking a class from a music teacher, or spending all her free time composing bad music or whatever, or maybe she is in a dead end barista job with no time to write and she's losing hope that she'll ever get better.

Then 'something happens' and everything gets turned upside down. Her teacher kicks her from the class, or she performs her bad lyrics not knowing how bad they are and gets laughed off stage or a famous musician comes into the coffee shop and makes some comment to her about giving everything up to chase her dream. She grabs the moment and enters act II.

She goes to the music capitol of the world. She becomes a groupie for a touring band. She spends her savings on an instrument. Whatever it is, she changes course and dedicates to her goal of writing better music. This is Act II, away from her normal life.

Mishaps happen all along the way. She loses her instrument. The band breaks up. She gets mugged and now can't afford (whatever).

She loses all hope, because it is hopeless.

But on reflection, she knows what would truly make her lose hope would be to give up completely, and so she rededicates herself.

She takes a new job as an apprentice to some musician she's never heard of (karate kid style). She doesn't realize she is learning, but this wise teacher is teaching her more than she realizes. She starts composing something worthwhile. She doesn't see it, but the teacher does.

This is close to the beginning of Act III.

The climax of the story is her performing her new composition in front of a massive audience. She doesn't want to, because there has been so much failure along the way and she still doesn't realize that her teacher knows his/her stuff, but she works up her nerve and preforms her composition, and the audience loves it.

This is mostly a man vs self story where she is battling her own demons. As far as obstacles, there are a ton that she can face. Brainstorm this. You can do it. Best if you do it. Look for inspiration from any story that you like. think about the obstacles in your own life. There are tons.


We can’t tell you what to write since the creative process is unique to each, but if I were to write such a character I might have her successful but lack that one spark of inspiration.

Singing other’s songs leaves her with a feeling of incompleteness - no legacy to leave behind when her fifteen minutes are up.

If she is famous as a songwriter, perhaps she has no muse, nothing to inspire her work and it is consistently dull and lacklustre.

Perhaps she realizes the missing piece is really part of her and she must take time off tour and discover herself. Preferably not going to India as that has been done often, she could seek wisdom and growth, eventually realizing that the singer is the song.

She can strive to add that skillset she lacks, struggling and failing as DPT suggests. She can seek a talented songwriter who can write exclusively for her, giving her a legacy of sorts, but said songwriter tires of getting little or no recognition for their work. All the critics talk about are her performances, never the actual song.

She could also come to realize the absolute emptiness of her fame. Unearned it has no value and she thinks it was just pure luck and wonderful timing. So many talented people are struggling but she is on easy street and why? Random chance. She comes to wonder is this all there is? Is this the success she fought so hard for? It is nothing, wealth and comfort have come almost as gifts and she, who has so much, must learn to deserve it when others have so little.

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