Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Journey of the Plot Driven Writer

We all love a page turner.
The Benefits and Pitfall of the Plot-Driven WriterPlots are great, no doubt about it. We all love a page turner, and as writers, we love it when we come up with a great plot twist. Murder, mayhem, love found, love lost, love found again, political intrigue, family secrets, science fiction, fantasy... plots go on and on....

It’s also been said that there are only 10 basic plots, and all plots are but variations on one of the ten. I don’t know if that’s true, but there is certainly truth to the statement. This is also the answer to the question: “I have a great plot but what if someone steals it?”

No one can steal your plot
I don’t believe that anyone can steal your plot because it’s not the details of plot that make a book successful; it's the writer’s passion for his characters and story and her ability to develop characters, story line, settings, emotions, dramatic tension, flashback, mystery and weave them into a creation that is uniquely hers.

Another way of saying this is give five people the same prompt, even the same plot, and you will come up with five very different stories and levels of success.

In a Pinch, Character Trumps Plot
You can have a very intriguing and successful book with a straight forward plot and fabulous characters, but a book with great plot but weak characters won’t hold most reader’s interest for long. To my mind, that's the kind of book where the reader eventually jumps to the end to find out what happens and, curiosity satisfied, dumps the book in the trash.

Characters are not stick figures that can be moved around like chess pieces for the sake of plot. A clever plot twist can lead you smack into a stone wall if it doesn’t fit the personality and the will of your characters. During your first and second drafts, at least, both characters and plot must remain fluid.

Playing with plot, planning and then watching plot rise and fall depending on the words and actions of characters is a fascinating process, sometimes maddening and often a lot of fun. Being comfortable enough with plot to allow it to shift is a great asset, and something that both plot driven and character driven writers need to embrace.

Plots, like characters, are living things.They can be a delicious left brain activity and are ultimately driven by characters: what characters say, do and how they react. The more developed your characters, the more compelling the plot. In the journey of the writing a work of fiction and in the life and drama of your characters, anything can happen!

Hey, Plot Driven Writer ― Forget About Plot!
A plot driven writer can actually forget about plot because, at some level, his mind is always working the plot anyway. So play around with plot as your characters reveal themselves. You love doing it, and nothing can you stop you from doing it anyway! Just don’t let the plot steal you from your characters.

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