FAQ - Character Driven or Plot Driven
Welcome back to another FAQ. For those of you just joining us, I polled new writers and got their most asked questions and then asked my fellow writer's these questions. Below you'll find one of those questions and answers from each author. The author's Bios and links to their website/Amazon page etc. will be after all the answers. Check them out for some awesome reads!
Here is the sixth of the new author FAQs. Keep on the look out for more in the coming months.
Question 6 - Are you Character Driven or Plot Driven? How has this helped your writing? How has it hindered your writing?
Azalea - I'm character-driven. I fall in love with my characters before I begin telling their story. It's been great for my writing because I feel a connection with them when I put pen to paper. However, it can be a hindrance as I write my stories surrounding the characters, so I sometimes find myself writing to suit the way they would think/behave rather than how I had intended the story to go.
Tiffanie - I am very character driven. It helps because people are saying how my characters feel real. The problem though… sometimes I know where I want my story to go and my characters don’t listen. They tend to have a mind of their own and they just do what they want. It surprises me, takes me off guard and sometimes throws the story plot line into the trash.
Jane - I am character driven. Since I write romance primarily it isn't a big issue.
Kayla - Plot driven. I like my characters, but I think of the plot first, and then create characters that fit into the plot that I want. Occasionally, my character really wouldn’t do something that I want to happen, so I have to find justifications on page that make it believable that a certain plot point/sub plot will make sense. The opposite of this type of writing is having a character and building the plot around what they would/would not do. I find this personally more difficult, as it can lead to tangents that don’t always make sense story wise that are hard to write out.
Mart - Oh, it’s definitely Character driven. I couldn’t do it the other way around. I think that I probably write slower than people who plot, but I don’t ever regret the wrong turns I make when I write. I find that I always learn something. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but there’s also nothing better than getting to the end of a story and finding out what happens.
Ravyn - It varies by story. Sometimes I get a character in my head and as I see them more and more in my thoughts, their story comes out. Other times, I will get an idea and have to figure out how to make it all work. I can’t say how it’s helped of hindered your writing because it’s so varied.
Sidney - I actually just did a panel on this topic! Okay, so rule number of one of writing is this: your character should drive your plot. Your plot should never drive your character!
So yes, I'm a character driven writer.This comes down to the issue of active or reactionary characters.
An active character pushes the story forward. They make decisions and set goals, then walk out the door to get those things done. They are usually engaging and charismatic people to read about and you want to see them succeed. You get drawn into them and through this journey your story and plot should unfold piece by piece. Typically these are very dynamic characters who undergo a character arch which sees them grow, mature, and change throughout their trials and journey.
Reactionary characters are the opposite. The story is always pushing them to the next step in the plot. Usually with reactionary main characters the plot is dumped on the reader instead of unfolding as an excuse to get the main character(s) moving. While a reactionary character can be dynamic, it's usually more in a 'the world forced me to become this' sort of way. They aren’t as engaging to read about and because of this, it's hard to keep a readers interest and relatability to the character.
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Azalea - I'm Azalea Fox, a contemporary and erotic romance author. I love reading and writing about regular women and the awesome men who absolutely dote on them. Growing up, my favorite author was Nora Roberts and I used to spend my days indoors reading her books. Now, my favorite things are days by the sea and hanging out with my husband and daughter. When I'm not writing, I'm doing art, reading, or watching movies.
Tiffanie - Tiffanie lives in Michigan. She has her degree in Mental Health, specializing in Child Development and a minor in Early Childhood Education. She puts her degrees to work in her young adult and new adult fantasy writings. Though she has been known to venture off into other genres from time to time, she has been published in the anthology Out of the Green and is currently working on the first novel in her new series, Bound in Blood and Shadows. The first novel, Double-Edged War, was published earlier this year.
Jane - Jane has been obsessed with all things books since 2nd grade. She lives in Ohio with her twin daughters.
Kayla - I write under two pen names. The first, Kaylie Lanshaw, is a collaboration between myself and another author (Tiffanie Shaw). We are currently writing a New Adult Post-Collapse series set in the year 2044, after a civil war has left the United States of America floundering. Drowning in debt, the country resorts to selling off states to revive the economy. When one of these states is bought by the King of the previously-hidden Vampires, the nation is left uncertain. It comes down to the Prince of the Vampires and a foster kid named Kaelin to prove that inter-species peace is possible. I also write under the pen name Kady Ellis, though these books are still in progress. The first book, which will be out hopefully by the end of 2019, is titled En Pointe, and is a M/M romantic suspense.
Mart - Martha J Allard is a writer of contemporary & dark fantasy. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines like "Talebones" and "Not One of Us." Her story "Dust" won an honorable mention in "Year's Best Science Fiction," 19th edition, edited by Gardener Dozois and her story, "Phase" was nominated for a British Science Fiction Award. Her nonfiction has appeared in Lend the Eye a Terrible Aspect and Deaths Garden. Her novel, Black Light, is a tale of love, sacrifice, and rock & roll in the 1980's. Martha is a life-long resident of Flint where she found magic between the cracks of broken concrete. She joined Flint Area Writers at the age of sixteen, and credits the group with teaching her how to write.
Ravyn - Ravyn Crescent is a survivor; living in a desert and dreaming of a better world. She lived through physical, mental, and sexual abuse and spent years focusing on helping others escape similar situations before realizing that constantly reliving those traumatic moments were tearing her down. She writes paranormal fiction, fantasy, and spends far too much time writing and researching about serial killers. In her spare time, she makes pet collars and works to educate people about pet nutrition, in whatever time she has left she does freelance editing. She has her own company, Crescent Canines.
Find her on Facebook
Sidney - Sidney Reetz: “That red-headed Devil woman.” Born and residing in Phoenix, Arizona, the caffeine dependent life form known as Sidney started writing in the fourth grade for her own enjoyment. The stories penned back then were during her high fantasy period and involved a lot of dragons, elves and magic. She was ten years old. Needless to say, they were horrible and will never see the light of day – but were fun to write and taught her a lot about discipline. In elementary school she entered the ‘short story’ competition and baffled the organizers when she dropped off a 150-some-odd page manuscript. They must have liked it; she won second place.When not transcribing the Devil’s words, Sidney is an avid crafter and all around nerd. She likes listening to true crime podcast and making themed playlist far too much.