Saturday, January 9, 2010

Plot-Driven v. Character-Driven

By Marcia Mickelson

I've been thinking a lot lately about the importance of plot vs. characters. In a novel, of course, they are both important and both need to be developed. However, the emphasis on plot is not as great in a character-driven novel.

In a plot-driven novel, the focus is on the action, the events that take place. This emphasis on the novel doesn't mean that the characters don't need to be developed. The characters are still important and should appeal to readers.

In a character-driven novel, the character's thoughts, feelings, and decisions take priority. The focus is on the understanding the character comes to and the changes in that person's life. This doesn't mean that action and plot are not important. They still play a part in the novel, but the character comes before the action.

I think it's important to find a balance between the two, but I also feel that my novels tend to be more character-driven. Sometimes, I wonder if there's much happening in my novel because I tend to emphasize the characters and what they go through and are feeling.

Certainly, when writing, an author doesn't have to choose one. A well-written book will have a good measure of each.


Jillayne Clements said...

Good point. I'm partial to character driven novels, myself.

Cindy (C.L.) Beck said...

Thanks for the info. I particularly liked your explanation of plot vs character driven.