In the Trenches: Follies

Tabby cat portrait - grayscale

Erin go bragh! Cead mile failte!
Alright, I’ve gotten the tribute to my Celtic forbearers out of the way, on to querying. Although the temptation to link to some YouTube videos of Scots music (ok, and some Irish) is very strong.

Ok. Shake it off. Move along.

In the querying trenches today an agent I have been stalking (respectfully, and from an electronic distance. Thank you very much. Don’t go thinking anything weird.)

Ahem, anyway, said agent is now open. FINALLY! I checked her wishlist and she still features a call for (drumroll) something exactly like what I’ve written.

On a related note, I’ll drop something here that I have asked over on another group:

My work deals with a specific form of neurodiversity–Complex PTSD. Among some of the identifying traits of CPTSD are “learned helplessness” , “chamaeleon-like pleasing”, and a lack of a central developed “I” in the self — it makes for a very conflicted contradictory and (at times) passive character.

I’m writing a dual POV. In the character arc I’m turning things on their head – per usual. One main character, has a well defined character arc.

The other main character is a “Failed coming of age” story. The attempt to leave the nest (cage) resulting in a flop is a scenario that many with CPTSD face repeatedly in their life.

It creates a character arc which is cyclical and ends up ‘back at the beginning again.’

Here’s the question – In your opinion is the common literary rule that the character must have a well defined progressive arc essential?

Collorary: Is it essential that the main character must possess a well defined singular “I” within their personality?

If so, I’m left wondering how to ever portray a main character with Complex PTSD.


I’ve heard some interesting responses, well thought out, and looking at aspects I had not considered. All good things. What is your opinion?

One response to “In the Trenches: Follies”

  1. IMHO (there’s that desire to please and not offend!): any of those “must do” tropes can be tossed, if done well. If a writer sticks to all of them too closely, the story can become formulaic and predictable.

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