Hey everyone! Sorry for the delay today. I’ve been hard at work at another thriller/horror type story. Unfortunately for me, I’m not sure what genre it will be. Do you ever get those stories where, once you start writing it immediately goes a different direction? I would stop and reroute but I am interested on where my mind wants to take it. Hopefully, it won’t venture off too far.
Today I wanted to talk about the character-driven plot. It’s not something that fits in a genre — mainly because most of the great plots are character-driven. A good story is one about characters, not just about a situation. I know people that would argue that a plot is the heart of a story but I would disagree. I would even water it down to this: a plot is mainly a “what-if” situation.
What if two people fell in love while they were on the Titanic? (ANSWER: Titanic)
What if there was a giant shark terrorizing people on a beach? (ANSWER: Jaws)
What if there were giant monsters coming out of the sea that were hellbent on destroying us? (ANSWER: Jaeger-Up, Cowboy!)
What if an owl was your mailman? (Anyway…)
But none of those movies/stories would be anything without a great cast or set of characters. They are the heart of your story. Your plot (that “what if”) should center on what kind of person your MC is. Just think of how those stories would change if you just changed the characters a little.
The development of your characters should be one of the most important and central parts (if not the epicenter) of your story. The plot should change your characters somehow and your characters should mold and play with the plot and scenarios like it homemade play-dough. Not sure if your character changes? Have your character “answer” a short questionnaire at the beginning of your story and at the end. Answer questions which are central to the plot and see if his or her answers change.
How do you feel about [SOMETHING INTEGRAL TO YOUR STORY]?
What does bravery or love [OR SOME OTHER CHARACTERISTIC] mean to you?
What is on your priority list?
What is your most important value?
What is your passion?
Questions like that. Depending on your story, you may pick different questions.
All righty, it’s back to the word mines for me. I hope that all of you wordsmiths have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here for Super-Market Sunday (seriously, I should come up with a better title for that…).