Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Character Driven vs. Plot Driven
It's amazing how many people don't know the difference between character-driven stories and plot-driven stories. It's pretty self explanatory. To make it as simple as possible, character-driven stories usually always deals with more of an internal focus. This is where the story is more about the character changes throughout the book more than the outside forces. Plot-driven stories are more external. The things happening around your character are what drives the story.
There should be a good mixture of both aspects in a novel but writers tend to lean heavily toward one compared to the other. Knowing which one you tend favor can really help you direct your story.
I'm the kind of person who tends to favor plot-driven stories especially for my fantasy and science fiction novels and novellas. I like having the external conflict be the main drive of my story. Getting to a deep emotional level and having that drive it, is really hard for me but with the novel I'm currently revising for publication, I've discovered that it's heavily character-driven.
How can I tell? Well, my characters emotional and mental state are huge factors on what's going on around him. I color-coded my main plot, my series plots (over reaching plots) and my subplots. So when I outlined, I could see how it all fit. My character's emotional and mental state ended up being huge and crucial for the story and his development also becomes a cause of some of the events that happen in this series. (I will probably write a blog post about this Friday.)
If I had to compare it to my novella The Survival Agreement, I would have to say that they are completely different in terms of style. The story is being moved by the plot and the situations that my characters have to go through. Their internal conflicts aren't prominent. They are important but not heavily brought up. (Does that make sense?)
Normally, I write lists for these blog posts but I feel like this one is fairly simple. I mostly wanted to bring up this topic because I struggled creating an outline for my novel due to the fact that I didn't realize how character-driven it was. So, it's good to know your style.