on Helping Writers become Authors:
Within a Positive-Change Arc, an Impact Character is the character (or characters) who represents the thematic Truth and its potential to “impact” and change the protagonist. However, within a Flat Arc, the protagonist is the Impact Character. As we delve deeper into the Flat archetypes of the life cycle’s Third Act, we begin to see more and more definitely how “impactful” the archetypes of old age can be.
Indeed, we are most familiar with the Flat archetypes of Elder and Mentor for the very reason that they commonly appear in younger Change Arcs as important Impact Characters. We are most likely to recognize the Mentor as a staple within the Hero’s Journey, but the preceding Elder archetype is no less viable or important, even though it may be a bit more prosaic.