The redemptive spiritual arc might be my favorite. It takes so many forms, from dramatic to vapor-thin, that I find myself constantly searching it out. And redemption can mean different things to each person. For me and the sake of this post, I’m speaking about redemption in a character’s life that brings them from a place of sin back to God. Somewhat like the prodigal son returning to his father.
As an author, I’ve written this theme in various forms. From a woman who’s never known God, to characters who have drifted away for one reason or another.
As a reader, I’ve found that my absolute favorite is the ones that dig down deep into character flaws and emotional constraints that have pulled a character into the world. It seems that most must hit rock bottom before they claw their way back into the light. I think it’s that fighting spirit that draws me in and gives me a chance to root for the characters. I want them to succeed.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the lighter side of redemption. I do. I love characters who have made a mistake and make reparations before it gets out of hand. They’re honest and genuine and their stories allow light to push back the dark.
No one redemptive arc is better than the other in the end. It’s about the story. The journey from where they are at the beginning of the book to where they end up. Any time I can find myself connecting through the pages of a book, I’m happy. And when it happens as an author, it’s a firm reminder of why I do this whole writing thing.
Do you have a favorite style of redemptive arc? Any book recommendations I can try?