Character or Plot?

Ladyrunning

From Pat Rice:

One of our wenchlings asked which is hardest for us to write, character or plot.

For me, I’d have to say plot is by far the hardest.  My head is inhabited with characters.  They’re quite likely to be full blown personalities who start arguing and bashing each other over the head before I have a chance to put word to paper.  Usually, they come with some situation, so I have some inkling what they’re arguing about.  From there, it’s pull teeth time. 

At the beginning, I was a total "into the mist" writer.  I just let the characters play around until I had some idea where the story started, and off I went, as eager to see how it turned out as any reader.  This is the fun way of writing. Beware, it is not always reliable unless you’re a natural storyteller who automatically builds in all the necessary elements without much thought.

As I learned more about my craft, life got difficult—  What, I’m supposed to include a "black moment" at the end?  Literature taught me about "climaxes," but "black moments"?  I can’t just blow someone up? And what’s with this Vogler stuff—I’m supposed to have a crisis in the middle, too?  Ack!Image002ma140761330002

I hid my head in the sand for as long as I could, but when I left my left-brained accounting job and started writing full time, with two deadlines a year, my focus went totally bonkers.  I ended up wasting way too much time ripping out scenes and chapters and trying to get rid of sagging middles because my characters were just cruising on a joy ride with no purpose in sight.  After I flushed a few hundred thousand words down the drain this way, I realized I needed to get my act together and instead of letting my characters direct the story, I needed to pay attention to plot or I’d be writing three books for the price of two. 

So grudgingly, I attempted to plot an entire book before committing myself to paper.  Or committing myself to a madhouse, whichever.  And I learned if I did it by brainstorming with friends, it wasn’t too bad at all.  I had a good time, I came away with some semblance of story, and if I sat my rear in the chair and typed notes to myself for a while, I might even come up with GMC before I dived in.  I still can’t say that I actually "plot."  I might say in my rough outline, "the heroine’s place of employment burns up, and she realizes she can no longer live from day-to-day but must have a plan to survive the rest of her life."  That would be a quarter turning point, maybe, which theoretically, ought to lead to some big deal in the middle, which teaches her a lesson she should never forget and that she needs to apply to her life.  So I might know what the characters need to learn at essential points along the way, but I can never really predict how they get there.  Queens The above burned "place of employment" could turn out to be a circus caught in an avalanche by the time I reach that point.  So I’m still writing to amuse the reader in me.  <G>

But even with that rough draft of a plot, I chronically run into problems and have to scream for the aid of my brainstorming partners.  I’ll whine about lack of conflict or wimpy goals and we’ll shoot endless emails back and forth, often hilarious, seldom to the point, but eventually the flood of typing brings my straying head back into focus, and voila! A germ of an idea happens. 

And on days when my partners in crime aren’t available, I’ll sit there typing to myself, calling my characters three kinds of idiot and hashing over the problem at hand until I start asking what if…  Ah, the notorious what if.  Without it, where would novels be?

I know most romance readers prefer character-driven stories, but the degree of plot after that becomes nebulous.  Do you prefer the stories that are heavily emotional and romantic, all about the relationship?  Or do you like ones that have fast-paced action?  Or something in between?  Tell!

45 thoughts on “Character or Plot?”

  1. I love a book that gets into the meat of a relationship. That’s why I read romance- the HEA. But a plot helps to expose character traits that make the characters more believable. I think you can learn more about someone’s behavior/character in an uncomfortable situation in just a few minutes, than in months of social gatherings. Example: how does a person act when the carriage loses its wheel in the dark, rainy night, far from the nearest posting house? Does she/he whine and complain about what can’t be helped or does she/he do something to help everyone be as comfortable as possible under the circumstances?
    The plot explains why they are traveling so late instead of stopping in time for dinner at a nice inn. Perhaps they are eloping to Gretna Green with her father in hot pursuit. Or maybe they are trying to reach her dying mother at the country house. I love the relationships, but it’s the plot that makes me keep turning pages to find out “what’s next.”

    Reply
  2. I love a book that gets into the meat of a relationship. That’s why I read romance- the HEA. But a plot helps to expose character traits that make the characters more believable. I think you can learn more about someone’s behavior/character in an uncomfortable situation in just a few minutes, than in months of social gatherings. Example: how does a person act when the carriage loses its wheel in the dark, rainy night, far from the nearest posting house? Does she/he whine and complain about what can’t be helped or does she/he do something to help everyone be as comfortable as possible under the circumstances?
    The plot explains why they are traveling so late instead of stopping in time for dinner at a nice inn. Perhaps they are eloping to Gretna Green with her father in hot pursuit. Or maybe they are trying to reach her dying mother at the country house. I love the relationships, but it’s the plot that makes me keep turning pages to find out “what’s next.”

    Reply
  3. I love a book that gets into the meat of a relationship. That’s why I read romance- the HEA. But a plot helps to expose character traits that make the characters more believable. I think you can learn more about someone’s behavior/character in an uncomfortable situation in just a few minutes, than in months of social gatherings. Example: how does a person act when the carriage loses its wheel in the dark, rainy night, far from the nearest posting house? Does she/he whine and complain about what can’t be helped or does she/he do something to help everyone be as comfortable as possible under the circumstances?
    The plot explains why they are traveling so late instead of stopping in time for dinner at a nice inn. Perhaps they are eloping to Gretna Green with her father in hot pursuit. Or maybe they are trying to reach her dying mother at the country house. I love the relationships, but it’s the plot that makes me keep turning pages to find out “what’s next.”

    Reply
  4. This is my first visit here, and already it’s *WoW* ~ a lot to think about; taking what I read and actually thinking about what makes it for me.
    I’ve always been very much a character person, but I think Kathy [above] made some great points that I’ve never really taken a look at; that the plot is what gives the characters more flesh, as it were.
    I’ll have to look more closely at what I’m reading instead of being so passive about it!

    Reply
  5. This is my first visit here, and already it’s *WoW* ~ a lot to think about; taking what I read and actually thinking about what makes it for me.
    I’ve always been very much a character person, but I think Kathy [above] made some great points that I’ve never really taken a look at; that the plot is what gives the characters more flesh, as it were.
    I’ll have to look more closely at what I’m reading instead of being so passive about it!

    Reply
  6. This is my first visit here, and already it’s *WoW* ~ a lot to think about; taking what I read and actually thinking about what makes it for me.
    I’ve always been very much a character person, but I think Kathy [above] made some great points that I’ve never really taken a look at; that the plot is what gives the characters more flesh, as it were.
    I’ll have to look more closely at what I’m reading instead of being so passive about it!

    Reply
  7. Good question, Pat. 🙂
    I think among writers plot vs. character is the equivilent of cats vs. dogs — plenty of fierce loyalties to respective camps, and generally you’re one, or the other, but seldom both.
    Like you, I come up with characters first — that’s the easy part for me. But I also find that once the characters are in place,then they’ll dictate what they do next — i.e., the plot.
    But if I have to sit down and outline a plot first, whether through note cards, charts, computer programs, writing books, all those other nifty ways that seem to work so well for other writers, I’m just D.O.A. Nada. So I’m all for characters first….

    Reply
  8. Good question, Pat. 🙂
    I think among writers plot vs. character is the equivilent of cats vs. dogs — plenty of fierce loyalties to respective camps, and generally you’re one, or the other, but seldom both.
    Like you, I come up with characters first — that’s the easy part for me. But I also find that once the characters are in place,then they’ll dictate what they do next — i.e., the plot.
    But if I have to sit down and outline a plot first, whether through note cards, charts, computer programs, writing books, all those other nifty ways that seem to work so well for other writers, I’m just D.O.A. Nada. So I’m all for characters first….

    Reply
  9. Good question, Pat. 🙂
    I think among writers plot vs. character is the equivilent of cats vs. dogs — plenty of fierce loyalties to respective camps, and generally you’re one, or the other, but seldom both.
    Like you, I come up with characters first — that’s the easy part for me. But I also find that once the characters are in place,then they’ll dictate what they do next — i.e., the plot.
    But if I have to sit down and outline a plot first, whether through note cards, charts, computer programs, writing books, all those other nifty ways that seem to work so well for other writers, I’m just D.O.A. Nada. So I’m all for characters first….

    Reply
  10. I like to think of plot as the “wheels” that keep the relationship moving forward. So your carriage incident is very much an example–these people have to be doing something and it might as well be something exciting as well as revealing.
    Kathy K, welcome to the wenches! Pull up a virtual chair and have a nice hot cup of tea and enjoy.
    SS, I totally know what you mean, but I’m determined to get this plot thing nailed to some degree. I’ve been working on a summary for my next historical for weeks now, and it’s just now starting to gell (jell?). I’m gellin’! I’m praying the time it takes to get all the conflicts and motivations nailed will save me time in straightening them out later. knock wood for me!

    Reply
  11. I like to think of plot as the “wheels” that keep the relationship moving forward. So your carriage incident is very much an example–these people have to be doing something and it might as well be something exciting as well as revealing.
    Kathy K, welcome to the wenches! Pull up a virtual chair and have a nice hot cup of tea and enjoy.
    SS, I totally know what you mean, but I’m determined to get this plot thing nailed to some degree. I’ve been working on a summary for my next historical for weeks now, and it’s just now starting to gell (jell?). I’m gellin’! I’m praying the time it takes to get all the conflicts and motivations nailed will save me time in straightening them out later. knock wood for me!

    Reply
  12. I like to think of plot as the “wheels” that keep the relationship moving forward. So your carriage incident is very much an example–these people have to be doing something and it might as well be something exciting as well as revealing.
    Kathy K, welcome to the wenches! Pull up a virtual chair and have a nice hot cup of tea and enjoy.
    SS, I totally know what you mean, but I’m determined to get this plot thing nailed to some degree. I’ve been working on a summary for my next historical for weeks now, and it’s just now starting to gell (jell?). I’m gellin’! I’m praying the time it takes to get all the conflicts and motivations nailed will save me time in straightening them out later. knock wood for me!

    Reply
  13. I’m with Susan Scott. For me characters come first, and who they are creates the plot (as a reader I’m not big on plot-driven books). I’m struggling right now to draft my first proposal (selling on proposal is supposed to be one of the bennies of being a published author, but I think it’s going to be the death of me!). I have a rough idea of the story when I sit down to write (I know the opening scene and have a vague idea of where it will lead) but the whole story is not there in my head yet. It grows and develops as I go. Eek! I’m doomed.

    Reply
  14. I’m with Susan Scott. For me characters come first, and who they are creates the plot (as a reader I’m not big on plot-driven books). I’m struggling right now to draft my first proposal (selling on proposal is supposed to be one of the bennies of being a published author, but I think it’s going to be the death of me!). I have a rough idea of the story when I sit down to write (I know the opening scene and have a vague idea of where it will lead) but the whole story is not there in my head yet. It grows and develops as I go. Eek! I’m doomed.

    Reply
  15. I’m with Susan Scott. For me characters come first, and who they are creates the plot (as a reader I’m not big on plot-driven books). I’m struggling right now to draft my first proposal (selling on proposal is supposed to be one of the bennies of being a published author, but I think it’s going to be the death of me!). I have a rough idea of the story when I sit down to write (I know the opening scene and have a vague idea of where it will lead) but the whole story is not there in my head yet. It grows and develops as I go. Eek! I’m doomed.

    Reply
  16. Heavens to Mergatroid (something my grandmother used to say but seems appropriate here). Lemme see… Pat, like you, my characters just pick-up with each other somewhere. Dialogue is organic to my writing and I thank the Almighty for that, since it must be the hardest thing. Plot is not organic to me, though I have lots of screwball ideas. However, I’m getting better at it. I’m giving myself permission to read and think before I start my next manuscript.
    But I have a heroine. She showed up in my previous manuscript (her and her brother). She wants to be a nun. So how do I write a romance about a girl who wants to be nun? I’m at work scanning an old legal agreement and asking her (my character) why she wants to be a nun. “Tell me why you want to be a nun?” I say.
    She answers! Whoohoo! And can I ever work with this!
    Back on topic. I do not want to be a pantser. I think the manuscript would go more smoothly if I could learn to be a plotter. So I’m haunting author sites who have plotting advice. I’m reading interviews. I’m re-reading GMC and Plot books.
    Kalen, is a proposal the same as a synopsis? I can’t write a synopsis until I’ve written the first 100 pages of the novel, but I guess that would suck if they didn’t like the idea. Well, forcing ourselves to do things we don’t like to do or aren’t good it is truly growth, and you’ll do it!

    Reply
  17. Heavens to Mergatroid (something my grandmother used to say but seems appropriate here). Lemme see… Pat, like you, my characters just pick-up with each other somewhere. Dialogue is organic to my writing and I thank the Almighty for that, since it must be the hardest thing. Plot is not organic to me, though I have lots of screwball ideas. However, I’m getting better at it. I’m giving myself permission to read and think before I start my next manuscript.
    But I have a heroine. She showed up in my previous manuscript (her and her brother). She wants to be a nun. So how do I write a romance about a girl who wants to be nun? I’m at work scanning an old legal agreement and asking her (my character) why she wants to be a nun. “Tell me why you want to be a nun?” I say.
    She answers! Whoohoo! And can I ever work with this!
    Back on topic. I do not want to be a pantser. I think the manuscript would go more smoothly if I could learn to be a plotter. So I’m haunting author sites who have plotting advice. I’m reading interviews. I’m re-reading GMC and Plot books.
    Kalen, is a proposal the same as a synopsis? I can’t write a synopsis until I’ve written the first 100 pages of the novel, but I guess that would suck if they didn’t like the idea. Well, forcing ourselves to do things we don’t like to do or aren’t good it is truly growth, and you’ll do it!

    Reply
  18. Heavens to Mergatroid (something my grandmother used to say but seems appropriate here). Lemme see… Pat, like you, my characters just pick-up with each other somewhere. Dialogue is organic to my writing and I thank the Almighty for that, since it must be the hardest thing. Plot is not organic to me, though I have lots of screwball ideas. However, I’m getting better at it. I’m giving myself permission to read and think before I start my next manuscript.
    But I have a heroine. She showed up in my previous manuscript (her and her brother). She wants to be a nun. So how do I write a romance about a girl who wants to be nun? I’m at work scanning an old legal agreement and asking her (my character) why she wants to be a nun. “Tell me why you want to be a nun?” I say.
    She answers! Whoohoo! And can I ever work with this!
    Back on topic. I do not want to be a pantser. I think the manuscript would go more smoothly if I could learn to be a plotter. So I’m haunting author sites who have plotting advice. I’m reading interviews. I’m re-reading GMC and Plot books.
    Kalen, is a proposal the same as a synopsis? I can’t write a synopsis until I’ve written the first 100 pages of the novel, but I guess that would suck if they didn’t like the idea. Well, forcing ourselves to do things we don’t like to do or aren’t good it is truly growth, and you’ll do it!

    Reply
  19. As a reader I like to follow the characters around. I never buy a book on plot. I think this is why series are so popular. We get to revisit favorite characters.
    The Outlander series is my prime example. I could care less what Jaime and Clare are doing. I care only that I do it with them. They just meander through life and I happily read it.

    Reply
  20. As a reader I like to follow the characters around. I never buy a book on plot. I think this is why series are so popular. We get to revisit favorite characters.
    The Outlander series is my prime example. I could care less what Jaime and Clare are doing. I care only that I do it with them. They just meander through life and I happily read it.

    Reply
  21. As a reader I like to follow the characters around. I never buy a book on plot. I think this is why series are so popular. We get to revisit favorite characters.
    The Outlander series is my prime example. I could care less what Jaime and Clare are doing. I care only that I do it with them. They just meander through life and I happily read it.

    Reply
  22. Ah, plot vs character! Like the eternal struggle between Good and Evil! I find that about half my books originate with plot ideas, about half with characters, the latter generally being handsome hunks left over from previous books.
    It’s much easier to develop characters than plots, but plots are the skeletons on which hang the flesh of the story. It doesn’t get easier with time!
    mjp

    Reply
  23. Ah, plot vs character! Like the eternal struggle between Good and Evil! I find that about half my books originate with plot ideas, about half with characters, the latter generally being handsome hunks left over from previous books.
    It’s much easier to develop characters than plots, but plots are the skeletons on which hang the flesh of the story. It doesn’t get easier with time!
    mjp

    Reply
  24. Ah, plot vs character! Like the eternal struggle between Good and Evil! I find that about half my books originate with plot ideas, about half with characters, the latter generally being handsome hunks left over from previous books.
    It’s much easier to develop characters than plots, but plots are the skeletons on which hang the flesh of the story. It doesn’t get easier with time!
    mjp

    Reply
  25. Pat said… “So I might know what the characters need to learn at essential points along the way, but I can never really predict how they get there.”
    Wonderful post Pat!
    This is where I get hung up on plotting. I know what my character needs to learn and why but writing a well organized outline to get her there is like standing in a vacuum, for me.
    Overall, characters come more easily to me than plots. But, I sort of get the germ of the story first through some sort of wild idea that hits me when I’m not looking. Then everything is one big muddle until I get the first and last word of the draft down on ‘paper.’ I’ve tried writing the synopsis first. But I think I’m too much of a pantser.
    As a reader, I prefer character driven books. If a story has more than one plotline, I will often read the one with the main characters and skip the others almost entirely unless they follow really strong secondary characters.
    Thank you to everyone who shares here. You’ll really brighten my world.
    –the littlest wenchling

    Reply
  26. Pat said… “So I might know what the characters need to learn at essential points along the way, but I can never really predict how they get there.”
    Wonderful post Pat!
    This is where I get hung up on plotting. I know what my character needs to learn and why but writing a well organized outline to get her there is like standing in a vacuum, for me.
    Overall, characters come more easily to me than plots. But, I sort of get the germ of the story first through some sort of wild idea that hits me when I’m not looking. Then everything is one big muddle until I get the first and last word of the draft down on ‘paper.’ I’ve tried writing the synopsis first. But I think I’m too much of a pantser.
    As a reader, I prefer character driven books. If a story has more than one plotline, I will often read the one with the main characters and skip the others almost entirely unless they follow really strong secondary characters.
    Thank you to everyone who shares here. You’ll really brighten my world.
    –the littlest wenchling

    Reply
  27. Pat said… “So I might know what the characters need to learn at essential points along the way, but I can never really predict how they get there.”
    Wonderful post Pat!
    This is where I get hung up on plotting. I know what my character needs to learn and why but writing a well organized outline to get her there is like standing in a vacuum, for me.
    Overall, characters come more easily to me than plots. But, I sort of get the germ of the story first through some sort of wild idea that hits me when I’m not looking. Then everything is one big muddle until I get the first and last word of the draft down on ‘paper.’ I’ve tried writing the synopsis first. But I think I’m too much of a pantser.
    As a reader, I prefer character driven books. If a story has more than one plotline, I will often read the one with the main characters and skip the others almost entirely unless they follow really strong secondary characters.
    Thank you to everyone who shares here. You’ll really brighten my world.
    –the littlest wenchling

    Reply
  28. The characters do it for me. Everything springs from them when I write, including plot.
    Once I’m invested in a character, however, I love to be shocked and surprised by plot twists. And when reading a new book, it’s usually the plot that initially draws me in, and then the characters keep me reading. In the beginning, you don’t know the characters well enough to be invested in them, so an interesting opening is vital for me. I love opening a book and being plunked down right in the middle of a melee or a cataclysmic event!

    Reply
  29. The characters do it for me. Everything springs from them when I write, including plot.
    Once I’m invested in a character, however, I love to be shocked and surprised by plot twists. And when reading a new book, it’s usually the plot that initially draws me in, and then the characters keep me reading. In the beginning, you don’t know the characters well enough to be invested in them, so an interesting opening is vital for me. I love opening a book and being plunked down right in the middle of a melee or a cataclysmic event!

    Reply
  30. The characters do it for me. Everything springs from them when I write, including plot.
    Once I’m invested in a character, however, I love to be shocked and surprised by plot twists. And when reading a new book, it’s usually the plot that initially draws me in, and then the characters keep me reading. In the beginning, you don’t know the characters well enough to be invested in them, so an interesting opening is vital for me. I love opening a book and being plunked down right in the middle of a melee or a cataclysmic event!

    Reply
  31. You know, I’ve never really understood plot v character. I’ve certainly come across books that are all plot and no real characters — only stereotypical puppets to go through the prescribed actions. There are doubtless books with characters but no plot, but I’m unlikely to read them. There are usually keywords like “self discovery” and “mood.”*G*
    But when my sort of book starts (mine as reader and writer) there are people doing something and things are happening to them,and possibly both at once, which is upsetting their plans, forcing them to do what they would prefer not to do, which is when other stuff happens, and there it goes.
    However, I can certainly see that books and writing styles tilt one way or another. Is that, I wonder, because of where the author’s true interest lies?
    In some books one or more characters are facing dramatic challenges which force them into major growth and change. That is, I think, a character driven book.
    On others, characters are facing dramatic challenges which require them to draw on their skills (practical and spiritual) but most of the skills are already there. The drama comes more from “are their skills enough?” than from “can they become the person who can win this battle?”
    I do think the Hero’s Journey has been over-emphasized in genre fiction, even though it’s a good tool.
    My opinion on a complicated subject, FWIW,
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  32. You know, I’ve never really understood plot v character. I’ve certainly come across books that are all plot and no real characters — only stereotypical puppets to go through the prescribed actions. There are doubtless books with characters but no plot, but I’m unlikely to read them. There are usually keywords like “self discovery” and “mood.”*G*
    But when my sort of book starts (mine as reader and writer) there are people doing something and things are happening to them,and possibly both at once, which is upsetting their plans, forcing them to do what they would prefer not to do, which is when other stuff happens, and there it goes.
    However, I can certainly see that books and writing styles tilt one way or another. Is that, I wonder, because of where the author’s true interest lies?
    In some books one or more characters are facing dramatic challenges which force them into major growth and change. That is, I think, a character driven book.
    On others, characters are facing dramatic challenges which require them to draw on their skills (practical and spiritual) but most of the skills are already there. The drama comes more from “are their skills enough?” than from “can they become the person who can win this battle?”
    I do think the Hero’s Journey has been over-emphasized in genre fiction, even though it’s a good tool.
    My opinion on a complicated subject, FWIW,
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  33. You know, I’ve never really understood plot v character. I’ve certainly come across books that are all plot and no real characters — only stereotypical puppets to go through the prescribed actions. There are doubtless books with characters but no plot, but I’m unlikely to read them. There are usually keywords like “self discovery” and “mood.”*G*
    But when my sort of book starts (mine as reader and writer) there are people doing something and things are happening to them,and possibly both at once, which is upsetting their plans, forcing them to do what they would prefer not to do, which is when other stuff happens, and there it goes.
    However, I can certainly see that books and writing styles tilt one way or another. Is that, I wonder, because of where the author’s true interest lies?
    In some books one or more characters are facing dramatic challenges which force them into major growth and change. That is, I think, a character driven book.
    On others, characters are facing dramatic challenges which require them to draw on their skills (practical and spiritual) but most of the skills are already there. The drama comes more from “are their skills enough?” than from “can they become the person who can win this battle?”
    I do think the Hero’s Journey has been over-emphasized in genre fiction, even though it’s a good tool.
    My opinion on a complicated subject, FWIW,
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  34. Good point, Jo. Sometimes, plot and character seem inextricable, which is the way it should be. But the “things” the characters are doing are what make up plot. If I don’t plan ahead, I don’t plant enough obstacles in the way of my characters because I basically dislike conflict and want everyone to be happy. “G”
    Those of you struggling with summaries (or synopsis or outlines or whatever you wish to call them), I totally understand. Summaries are the reason I’m trying to learn the basic arc of plotting and character—so I can fudge summaries. “G” But it takes me weeks and weeks to come up with plot points that might coincide with character lessons, and even then, I end up throwing out most of the plotline as I work. But it’s good to at least nail down some of the GMC in those summaries, just to keep your head focused when your characters decide to take a train to Alaska when they’re supposed to be mining gold in California!

    Reply
  35. Good point, Jo. Sometimes, plot and character seem inextricable, which is the way it should be. But the “things” the characters are doing are what make up plot. If I don’t plan ahead, I don’t plant enough obstacles in the way of my characters because I basically dislike conflict and want everyone to be happy. “G”
    Those of you struggling with summaries (or synopsis or outlines or whatever you wish to call them), I totally understand. Summaries are the reason I’m trying to learn the basic arc of plotting and character—so I can fudge summaries. “G” But it takes me weeks and weeks to come up with plot points that might coincide with character lessons, and even then, I end up throwing out most of the plotline as I work. But it’s good to at least nail down some of the GMC in those summaries, just to keep your head focused when your characters decide to take a train to Alaska when they’re supposed to be mining gold in California!

    Reply
  36. Good point, Jo. Sometimes, plot and character seem inextricable, which is the way it should be. But the “things” the characters are doing are what make up plot. If I don’t plan ahead, I don’t plant enough obstacles in the way of my characters because I basically dislike conflict and want everyone to be happy. “G”
    Those of you struggling with summaries (or synopsis or outlines or whatever you wish to call them), I totally understand. Summaries are the reason I’m trying to learn the basic arc of plotting and character—so I can fudge summaries. “G” But it takes me weeks and weeks to come up with plot points that might coincide with character lessons, and even then, I end up throwing out most of the plotline as I work. But it’s good to at least nail down some of the GMC in those summaries, just to keep your head focused when your characters decide to take a train to Alaska when they’re supposed to be mining gold in California!

    Reply
  37. Pat said… “Summaries are the reason I’m trying to learn the basic arc of plotting and character—so I can fudge summaries. “G” But it takes me weeks and weeks to come up with plot points…”
    It is so comforting to know that a NYT’s best selling author faces the same challenges I do. Thank you, Pat for your heart. You are a great inspiration to me.

    Reply
  38. Pat said… “Summaries are the reason I’m trying to learn the basic arc of plotting and character—so I can fudge summaries. “G” But it takes me weeks and weeks to come up with plot points…”
    It is so comforting to know that a NYT’s best selling author faces the same challenges I do. Thank you, Pat for your heart. You are a great inspiration to me.

    Reply
  39. Pat said… “Summaries are the reason I’m trying to learn the basic arc of plotting and character—so I can fudge summaries. “G” But it takes me weeks and weeks to come up with plot points…”
    It is so comforting to know that a NYT’s best selling author faces the same challenges I do. Thank you, Pat for your heart. You are a great inspiration to me.

    Reply
  40. People sometimes ask me how I can re-read mysteries, since I know the ending. I am definately a humor and character reader, the plot is secondary. Sometimes it is overwhelmingly secondary. For example, (since I seem to be into discussing Dorothy Sayers in my recent posts) the mystery in “busman’s honeymoon” seems almost an intrusion on the character development and the wonderful humor.
    Merry

    Reply
  41. People sometimes ask me how I can re-read mysteries, since I know the ending. I am definately a humor and character reader, the plot is secondary. Sometimes it is overwhelmingly secondary. For example, (since I seem to be into discussing Dorothy Sayers in my recent posts) the mystery in “busman’s honeymoon” seems almost an intrusion on the character development and the wonderful humor.
    Merry

    Reply
  42. People sometimes ask me how I can re-read mysteries, since I know the ending. I am definately a humor and character reader, the plot is secondary. Sometimes it is overwhelmingly secondary. For example, (since I seem to be into discussing Dorothy Sayers in my recent posts) the mystery in “busman’s honeymoon” seems almost an intrusion on the character development and the wonderful humor.
    Merry

    Reply

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