It’s the time of year when we get to take a break and enjoy good food, important people in our lives, and time to recognize what is important. Gratitude is acknowledging the good things in life which automatically lifts and enthuses us. The act of recognition changes our mentality, ability, and in part, and eventually, changes who we are.
Not a soul can be harmed by this. In fact, it is enabling in various aspects. Which is why this should be a part of our regular lives and routines, not just one holiday.
But it should especially be a part of a character’s arc. The segments when they are able to breath for a second and see where they are. Characters and all of us need to have a moment to recognize the progress and growth we’ve made. See the blessings, and then let these things fuel the energy to push onward.
I’ve heard these rests in a story explained as landings in a staircase. The spacing is crucial, they should be brief, and placed specifically where needed most. These moments in a story should take place right after or just before the big events, so that a character has the reflection ore realization needed to recover or prepare for the big task. A recognition moment is when the main character is able to have the internal conflict and resolution that allows them to meet the external battle. The point where a character confronts their Lie, in K.M Weiland’s article about character arcs, is where the character has the recognition.
Without some kind of acknowledgement to the blessings a character has, they can’t move past where they are. The reflection and recognition needs to take place. These moments don’t have to be elaborate. I’ve written about one of these moments in my life, referred to as a hole of despair. Only a moment of realization brings on gratitude, and thus a change and progression in the character arc. When I realize that I am the only one holding myself back, I have gratitude in the power I have over myself and my ability to choose.
Look at your life and your writing. Do you recognize where the power is for your progression? Does your character? What gratitude needs to happen before the progression is possible? Try focusing on the gratitude your character can have and how that changes him or her.