1. Bongo Mongo
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    Bongo Mongo Member

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    Write for the Story, or the Characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Bongo Mongo, Apr 22, 2010.

    My short stories have always been revolved around some unique plot, usually with a twist. However, as I write my first novel, I find that I am writing more for the character developments and interactions than I am with moving forward the plot. I ended up only wanting to get to the end to see how the characters react to each other in the climax of the novel.

    So, do you write for your characters, or to advance your plot?
     
  2. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    The way I do it is a bit of both.
    When I plan a story, I come up with critical scenes that I can picture the characters getting themselves involved in, such as a romantic character will almost certainly find himself/herself in a romantic predicament one day.

    Then I take those scenes and set them throughout the story in a manner akin to check points, and let the character interactions fill in the void between those scenes.

    That way, I can let the characters do their thing while maintaining control of the plot... at least, that's the concept I'm aiming for. XD

    I do love my characters so you can say I write for them, but I do so within some plot restrictions while allowing for some flexibility incase something exciting happens. (;
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, characters come first. Of course you have to have a plot, or the characters just naval-gaze all day. And you don't want a plot that just looks like a machine for making the characters go through their paces. But all the same, the characters are what matter to me.
     
  4. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    In your mind, it's all right if your characters come first. On the page, however, the plot should come first. Your readers won't know your characters from Adam on page one--unlike you, the author, who probably knows them better than anyone you know in real life. Your readers can, and hopefully will, come to know and love your characters as much as you do, but you need to give them a reason to take the time. That reason is plot. Plot is what hooks the reader and keeps them reading long enough to care about the characters. Characters who spend all day thinking seldom make for good reading. We want to see characters who do things; who react to things; who make decisions, strive for goals, and meet with plenty of obstacles along the way. That's what makes for a good read.
     
  5. Mila
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    Mila Member

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    I come up with both the characters and plot at the same time, but when I'm writing, it's the characters that keep me going through the tough bits. It's a bit of a 'chicken/egg' question though - can't really have one without the other, after all.
     
  6. TeabagSalad
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    TeabagSalad Member

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    I find that you can't really have one without the other. A story with amazing characters doing nothing is as bad as a story with wooden characters yet a wonderful plot.

    Good stories have a balance of the two. The length of a novel will give you room to explore the character development but try not to do it at the expense of the plot. If you can intertwine the two then I think you'll be on to a winner. Character development via plot is always very interesting.

    Regards,

    Ian
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The characters are what allows the reader to enter the story and care for it, the story is what keeps them interested.
     
  8. Fallen
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    Lol, I love using this one:

    Or it goes something like that.
     
  9. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I guess it is feasible to invent a great character in your mind, then construct a story around him/her, but for me personally, the plot has to come first, then you can see exactly what kind of characters you need to make it realise its full potential.

    That sounds a bit like casting a Hollywood movie, then when you see who you've got, deciding what the film will be about. Just doesn't work for me. :)
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There really isn't an "or." The plots develop the characters and support the storyline. Of the three, the storyline is probably the one needing the least attention.

    Characters are what makes the story matter to the reader. Plots are the driving force within the story. The storyline itself is only a chronology of events.
     

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