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Corporal Kat Profile
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Apprentice

Registered: 08-2004
Location: City of The Damned
Posts: 56
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Re: Character vs. Plot


I've written a few short stroies that are more about characters than plots. I like it that way. I like to develop the characters so that the reader gets to know them and so that they can sort of... enter whichever character they prefer or have a predominant liking to and they can live the life of that character, making it up as they go along. Not too much though, my stories usually do have a plot outline.

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Sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me!

9/13/2005, 1:49 pm Link to this post Send Email to Corporal Kat   Send PM to Corporal Kat
 
David Meadows Profile
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Junior Scribe

Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 165
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Re: Character vs. Plot


I think that plots are the primary reason for writing stories, and the characters should be there to serve the plot. A plot is a story; a character is not.

Even the term "character-driven" seems to acknowledge this: implicit in the term is that something must exist for the characters to drive, and that "something" is the plot. Without it, the characters aren't going anywhere.

"Character studies" hold little interest for me (as a reader or as a writer), because while the characters might be interesting and the writing might be beautiful, there is no story there.


I will also add that an idea-driven story can exist (this should be a familiar concept to SF readers), and in a story like that both plot and characters exist to serve the idea. And an extrapolation of that is that a character can drive an idea without any need for a plot. (I would hold up Hesse's Steppenwolf as an example of this. It's a "character study", and what little plot it has is there merely to illustrate the main character (and possibly only exists in the MC's head). But it is actually about ideas -- philosophy, society, the meaning of life -- and the character is simply there to give us a window onto these ideas.)



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"I believe that the superhero icon still has a valuable power in it. It kind of transformed my childhood. It's a talisman of the imagination." -- Alan Moore
9/14/2005, 7:54 am Link to this post Send Email to David Meadows   Send PM to David Meadows
 
SFGirl Profile
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Scribus Administratus

Registered: 01-2004
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 939
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Re: Character vs. Plot


I like the idea of thinking about the MICE quotient for a story--which of the four factors, Milieu, Idea, Character or Event--is the most important to the story and determines the story's slant.

I do like stories that have a plot of some sort. A lot of pure "character" stories leave me asking "so what?" I like stories that, as Kat says, have strong characters as well as an interesting plot. For me, if the characters aren't interesting, I don't much care what intriguing stuff is happening to them.

I think my favorite kind of stories balance out the MICE factors pretty evenly.

Sherry

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Reading: Tapping the Dream Tree by Charles deLint
Rewriting: One's Aspect To The Sun (novel)
9/14/2005, 8:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to SFGirl   Send PM to SFGirl
 


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