?

What drives your writing?

  1. Character-driven

    18 vote(s)
    64.3%
  2. Plot-driven

    10 vote(s)
    35.7%
  1. AnonymousWriter
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    AnonymousWriter Contributing Member

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    What drives your writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AnonymousWriter, Sep 10, 2008.

    Are your stories character-driven or plot-driven? For me, I would have to say character-driven. I always created characters first then poke a story out of them.
     
  2. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    The Poll should have another option really: Both. I use a mix of character and plot devices to drive the story. I like to have the characters be the focus rather than the events but the events are often decided by the characters actions and I often pull characters in to effect event flow so I can't really say its one way or the other as I tend to mix my characters and my plot into one and use both.

    I like taking events throwing characters into them and seeing what ensues.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Multiple choice polls are pretty useless, really, except where votes really must be tallied. The discussion is far more valuable in any question like this.

    To me, characters are what make or break a story. If the reader develops some sort of emotional connection with the characters (admiration, identification, or even loathing), the story will probably succeed even with a weak plot or storyline.

    On the other hand, I do depend on plot to develop the character and move the story forward. And I am using plot in the formal sense of the introduction, development, resolution, and outcome of a specific conflict or obstacle.

    You can have a plot without characters (the sun is going nova, and all life will end on the planet), but without characters to bring the plot(s) to life and provide an emotional context, the story will not excite.
     
  4. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I'm not sure where the line would be drawn between the two.
     
  5. Still Life
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    Still Life Active Member

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    Character-driven, most definitely. I don't like structuring or creating outlines. Almost always if someone (creative writing teacher) asks me to sketch one up, I'm thinking: Que?

    I have a tendency to create characters (two, at first), throw them together, and through their characterization, interactions, wants and needs, depend on them to take me somewhere.
     
  6. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I sketch an outline and characters, but the characters always have more depth than the plotlines. And when I start writing, they come first.
    If I reach a point in my plot where something is supposed to happen, but I can't imagine a character making that choice, I alter the plot.
     
  7. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's hard to say. I daydream and come up with scenes in my head that are major turning points in the plot, but the scenes themselves revolve around the characters.
     
  8. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    I think I'm driven by both. Characters are what connect with the readers. The plot is what keeps the story going.
     
  9. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    My stories are primarily character driven. Both aspects are necessary, but it's the characters who make the plot. All sorts of wonderful stuff can be happening but who cares if the characters are stale? (I dislike stories with no plot, but I'd actually rather read a plotless story with fascinating characters than a great plotted story with cardboard characters. Usually, like I said, interesting characters simply make the plot themselves.)
     
  10. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    Had there been a both option I would have gone with that. Since there's not one, I'm going to have to go against the grain and say plot-driven. I usually develop the idea and story points of the tale before I have any concrete characters decided. The basic plot of my story is what drives me to create characters, and what pushes me when roadblocks get in the way.
     
  11. Rio Moss
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    Rio Moss Member

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    I first think of plot.
    What happens, what are the results.
    Then I start thinking about what kind of characters would take part in such an action, what are their motivations, their likes and dislikes, their habits, their backgrounds and histories.
     
  12. DownUnder
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    DownUnder Contributing Member

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    Mine tend to be character-driven. I think of the characters for a story before I think of the plot, though there is the odd time a plot will enter my head before a character.

    But in both scenarios I still consider my writing character-driven. I think that if one can create an emotional 'bond' with the reader than the characters, then the plot will be more effective whatever it is (within reason, of course). I still try to make a good plot with the characters, but I also like to 'develop' the characters, have them develop as 'people' through-out the story, and discover parts of themselves I wouldn't have considered writing about when I first started.

    I think if I did it the other way around, the characters would be more bland and wouldn't really move people. But that's just me.
     
  13. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    I find that a lot of my writing is really just extended character study. I'm actually quite content with reading it, as well; a book in which very little happens but which really explores a character and his/her reactions appeals to me a great deal.
     
  14. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Before I clicked the link, I took the question to mean what drives me to write. What drives me to write is my story ideas. Mostly it is a unique idea, and I want to see how it turns out as a story. Then I add characters. Honestly it is only because of my ideas that I even try to write. I don't much enjoy the writing process, especially not editing.

    When it comes to what drives my stories, I believe it is mostly the characters. The only exception to this is bizarre sci-fi short stories, such as some of Asimov's I-Robot stories. The one I am thinking of is when the computer gets so advance it enters into hyperspace, it finally finds the answer it was asked many times, and then recreates the universe so it would have someone to tell the answer to. It became God. I guess the MC in that story was the computer. The humans were on and off screen so fast they didn't mean much to the story.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    either, depending on what i'm writing... there's no 'best' or 'always'...
     
  16. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I'd say my writings mainly plot-driven, but some of it is character driven. Its probably around 65%/35% split for me.
     
  17. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    I would say I am more character driven. My characters shape the flow of the story and where it is going. I tend to disagree with people on here because of that quite often.

    When I am writting I think of the type of person I want to be a character. Then I make notes about what they did for prom how there lives have been before the story, I sometimes write a short story about them before I write the story.

    After i have a character locked I then put them in a situation and let the definition of that character decide what will happen. If I put three chracters in situations that I have created I would have three different stories.

    That is my hope at least.
     
  18. Little Miss Edi
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    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

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    I think, looking back on them, that most of my stories are character driven.

    It always starts with characters in an interesting scenario and expands (or doesn't on those bad, blocked days) into something bigger. Plots tend to get worked out and then take the story in it's direction but as I always start with characters that's what I'll stick with. :)
     
  19. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I'm all about the characters. You know what I say, you can't act a play without characters.
    Actually, the characters are what initiates me to write, and the plot is what keeps me writing...and more of the characters of course. Perhaps both then.
     
  20. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    The way I see it, irrispective of which one provides momentum at any given moment, you can't have one without the other. In saying that, I generally begin with a specific theme, as opposed to plot, and devise my mc around that.
     

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