A Story Is Driven By Characters, Not Plot

A story is driven by characters, not plot.

I agree. Many writers and literary experts agree. I’m not so sure it’s always reflected in book popularity, sales, and reviews, though. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

In her excellent blog post, Millie Ho writes, “When I removed the intricate step-by-step plotting and focused purely on characters (traits, motivations, goals, conflicts), the plot started coming together. The characters had more agency. They allowed themselves to make mistakes. Small details I’d been struggling to link together or use in future chapters suddenly became inconsequential.”

To me, this sounds like the reason pantsing works for some people. Or why authors say their characters literally come to life and change the plot and even themselves. Characters have personalities, motives, and baggage if they are three-dimensional. If your character becomes sentient, his or her traits, emotions, goals, and predicament will help you not only to write a plot, but give it believability and dimension.

Source: A Story Is Driven By Characters, Not Plot

Photo by Dreamstime.com.

About Eva Blaskovic

I am a multi-genre author of literary fiction, fantasy, and paranormal, and writer of non-fiction articles on parenting, writing, education, health, and travel. My background encompasses both the sciences and the arts. I teach at a specialized clinic for learning disorders and mentor young authors. In addition to writing and teaching, my passions are weather, Indian food, gardening, and music. I have played eight musical instruments and spent many years immersed in taekwondo and karate. In my youth, I was an avid canoeist. I was born in Prague, Czech Republic, grew up in the Great Lakes region of Ontario, Canada, and moved to Alberta in 1988, where I raised four children.
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6 Responses to A Story Is Driven By Characters, Not Plot

  1. pattywiseman says:

    Love this post. I tend to center on my characters, make them real, help the reader know them. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: A Story Is Driven By Characters, Not Plot — Beyond the Precipice – I Suck at Writing

  3. The more I’ve invested in trying to understand fiction the less I see plot and character as two separate things – plot is something that grows from character. Sure in say, Lord of the Rings the existence of the ‘ring’ etc is a PLOT device but everything about the story is about the characters. The ring could have been any jewel item or anything, but the characters their journey is sacrosanct (or do I just love LOTR too much)

    Liked by 1 person

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