Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Stumbling Blocks

Before we start, I'd just like to say this is my 501st post. I know it may not seem like much to some, and there are people with thousands of posts, but the number impresses me just the same. I've done this 500 times. Whew.

Anyway, I got this interesting little blurb from one of my critique partners last week. She said,

I'm so glad Penny and Will got to love each other from the beginning of this book. They didn't have to overcome their fear to find their way to each other, or stumble through so many personal obstacles. It's a refreshing change.

She was talking about THE LADY'S MASQUERADE and Penny and Will are the main characters.

I never thought about it quite like this before. Usually my books are character driven, and the obstacles they stumble through are interior. My characters are loaded with angst and just can't make up their minds whether or not to love the person I've put in front of them.

MASQUERADE is plot driven. That Penny and Will find their love almost from the beginning of the book was a no brainer for me. It was my first book and I didn't know any better. I had no clue how to write a story, or what it needed. That they loved each other at almost first sight seemed a good way to start.

What they have to overcome to finally be together is in the plot. Murder attempts, jealousy, misunderstandings, and an overprotective daddy. Hmmm...

Tell me -- Do you find yourself writing more character driven or plot driven books? If you write love stories, are your characters afraid of love, and their angst, or do they just jump in and see what happens?

13 comments:

SA Larsenッ said...

Interesting post, Anne. Makes me wonder if, when we first start writing and we naturally write one way (character driven) then slowly evolve to the other (plot driven) if that represents writer growth or just curiosity to try something new. Hmmm... My YA stories are definitely character drive so far. The MG series I'm working on is too, but now that you mention it, I might be concentrating on the plot a little more, here.

Anne Gallagher said...

Sherrie -- I try not to analyze too much when I write, but having this pointed out to me got me thinking. Interesting concepts.

Maria Zannini said...

All romance is naturally character-driven. But I need a rousing plot to keep me invested. The more that stands in the protag's way, the more I want to know how s/he get out of it.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm with Maria. That's why I first fell in love with historical romances (when I was a teen). The stories were character-based, but there was a bigger heaping of plot based action to keep me turning the pages.

Anne Gallagher said...

Maria & Stina -- Another interesting thought. I'd never differentiated the two, or if I had it was in the most basic way.

This learning curve of how to be a writer is an ongoing life experience I think. I learn something new every single day.

Yvonne Osborne said...

That's a lot of posts!! I'd have to say my stories are more character driven than plot driven but plot is important and I like to put obstacles in the way of love.

Anne Gallagher said...

Yvonne -- I like character driven, which I guess is why I write them, but Maria and Stina have a point -- if there's no real plot to drive the story, then I guess there's no story.

But then, I would take exception to that with my own THE LADY'S FATE.

It's such a hard row to hoe, to think you know what you're doing, and then to find out it's wrong, or right, but you don't know it.

I think now I'm just more confused than ever.

Linda G. said...

Plot and character are pretty intertwined for me, I'd say. The plot happens because of who the characters are, and the characters are shaped by the plot. Kind of a chicken & egg thing, I guess.

Cheree Smith said...

I would like to say character-driven, but most of the time my plot ends up driving the characters and determining who they are and what they do.

The Happy Whisk said...

Congrats on hitting 501. It sounds like a lot to me. I just celebrated my 444th post.

Liza said...

501 is a great milestone! Congratulations! Annnnd...I guess I'm a sucker for a start to finish romance!

Talli Roland said...

Happy 501 posts! Hmm, I think I tend to write character-driven plots. Most of the time, my characters have to deal with something internal before they can come together.

Searching for the Story said...

Ooh. My stuff--not that I have much time for it these days, seeing as how I spend so much time with other people's manuscripts--is usually plot driven.

Character-driven literature is a lot harder to execute, but when done right it can be incredible.