Action selection from many options with few constraints is crucial for improvisation and co-creativity. Our previous work proposed creative arc negotiation to solve this problem, i.e., selecting actions to follow an author-defined `creative arc' or trajectory over estimates of novelty, unexpectedness, and quality for potential actions. The CARNIVAL agent architecture demonstrated this approach for playing the Props game from improv theatre in the Robot Improv Circus installation. This article evaluates the creative arc negotiation experience with CARNIVAL through two crowdsourced observer studies and one improviser laboratory study. The studies focus on subjects' ability to identify creative arcs in performance and their preference for creative arc negotiation compared to a random selection baseline. Our results show empirically that observers successfully identified creative arcs in performances. Both groups also preferred creative arc negotiation in agent creativity and logical coherence, while observers enjoyed it more too.