Everyone loves a good redemption arc!
I was inspired to make this post after watching the Netflix show She-Ra and the Princesses of Power when one of their characters went through, in my opinion, one of the best redemption arcs I've seen!
Constructing one can be a bit difficult because there's more to it than just a character realizing what they've done is wrong. Learning from creative writing programs, and my own personal writing experience, there's a step-by-step process you can let guide you when it comes to crafting a redemption arc for your character(s). You can chance whatever you feel makes more sense for your character(s), but below is an example of my own guide I use to help write redemption.
5 Steps for a Redemption Arc:
Pre-contemplation - the character(s) is still in denial and isn't even considering changing their behavior yet.
Contemplation - the character(s) starts to understand why they should maybe change, but there's still hesitation.
Preparation - the character(s) has decided to change. They're making plans to put their goal into action and have possibly made minor changes, but they have not stopped doing the bad thing.
Action - the character(s) makes significant steps to change their behavior. They seek help, avoid triggers, etc.
Maintenance - the character(s) successfully changes their behavior for a period of time, though they may still face struggles.
And a possible 6th step:
6. Relapse - relapse can occur at any point in the process and might happen more than once, or not at all.
This can apply to any type of redemption arc! They can start at any step and be taken as far as the writer wants for the character(s). Redemption arcs can be realistically messy, backwards, sideways, back and forth... change isn't linear. There are many ways to explore a change in a character!