So, you want to write a great story? Then at the very least you should relate the hero’s character arc to his struggle to achieve his goal.
Causally linking the hero’s inner growth to the quality of his actions will help ensure the authenticity of the story. Importantly, your hero should never act beyond the limits of his current moral, spiritual and physical skills. The quality of his performance at the level of action has to reflect his current ability to achieve it. As the hero grows so does the efficacy of his actions.
But if the hero keeps improving through each hostile encounter, why does he not attain the goal earlier in the story?
”The hero’s character arc, his growth towards moral, spiritual and physical power remains insufficient to overcome the worsening challenges he encounters—until his final confrontation with the antagonist.”
That‘s because the hero’s growth is outpaced by the increase in difficulty of each new challenge. The knowledge that the hero brings to each new confrontation is less than the knowledge required to gain the goal—until the final conflict, where the necessary lessons have been fully learnt. It is only then that the hero is able to integrate the separate areas of growth needed to defeat the antagonist.
in Edge of Tomorrow, Major William Cage has to die countless of times before he acquires the necessary skill to defeat the Mimics that have decimated the earth. It is only when he is stripped bare of his ignorance, and his ability to resurrect himself, that he finally stands a chance at a permanent victory against the invading aliens.
In the best selling novel, Scarab, the protagonist, Jack Wheeler, fails to outwit the villain and protect the woman he loves until he realises that he must sacrifice what he wants, to win Emma’s love, if he is to gain what he needs—to save her life. It is a realisation that takes him most of the story to achieve.
The hero’s character arc, his growth towards spiritual, moral and practical strength, lags behind the evolving challenges of the plot, until the end of the story.