Friday, May 15, 2009

Character Driven Plot

When I first started writing many years ago I never truly thought much about my characters. My idea of "characterization" was primarily the characters' history. Where did they grow up? Who were their parents? Although this might be interesting it really did not allow my characters to become memorable. Because of this my stories were driven by the plot alone. That may also be a reason why I like epic fantasy so much. It can be easy to forget about the characters because I am too busy finding ways for them to save the world.

For the first time I decided to give depth to my characters. I had never done this before so I felt I needed to do some research. I found several good websites and a couple books that have helped me develop my characters. One thing these methods had in common was to create characters with inner conflicts (preferably mutually exclusive conflicts). That was what I focused on for the last several weeks. This was not easy because this was the first time I tried this. What I came up with helped not only the characters but the story itself.

I found that these characters helped add to the plot of the story. These inner conflicts help me develop more for the plot than I could have working on the plot by itself. In fact, due to the inner conflicts of one character, I have that character going in a totally different direction. Before this characterization I would never have had that character do anything like what I am having him do. However, these actions are logical based upon these conflicts. Now I am developing a more character driven plot whereas before I struggled to build up the story on plot alone.

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