The Protagonist’s “Character Arc”, the Rise and Fall, and All That Lies Between
Jones, Paula Whetu
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Sins of the Mother is as provocative as the title indicates. The feature length script, set in the present time in Auckland City, explores the tumultuous relationships between mothers and daughters. It focuses on Charlie, her daughter Lacy and her mother, and her struggles with her unresolved conflicts which get in the way of her ultimate goal: to be a good mother to her 17 year old daughter and to be a good daughter to her mother, Nana Jeannie. This dysfunctional unit sees the three women thrown into turmoil when young Lacy is raped… and the film begins as each deals with this trauma in their own way. This lights the fuse for past hurts, indiscretions and betrayals, real or perceived, within all three women. This is a love story, not in the romantic sense of the word, but just as powerful is the love between a mother, her child and a grandchild. This Exegeses looks at the development of the main protagonist from the original idea through to the second draft paying particular attention to the structure, cause and effect of the construction of the inner conflict, and the response to this with regard to her character development and, inevitably, her character arc. I will explore this multi-layered emotional and physical journey of Charlie’s and her responses to her mother and her daughter, as her main antagonists, with a focus on how Charlie’s unresolved conflict impacts on her character arc as she constantly battles, not only with external forces, but her inner conflict. Her self-doubt is cleverly masked by her actions, making her own vulnerability less obvious. I will look at the problems associated with my creation of character, character arc and inner conflict in regard to keeping to the rules attributed to screenwriting.