Plot or Character First?

Bringing things together! Aaaaand clap!

I used to try and come up with an entire plot and then jam characters in there.  It didn't work for me.

Then I started designing characters, only to find myself at a loss - what to do with them?

I eventually settled on a compromise - the plot is a "What If" question I pose to my character. "What if an ordinary person got caught up in a crazy adventure?" or "What if someone woke up in the past?" It's really basic stuff plot-wise, but it gets me thinking about what will happen and how my character will deal with it.  Everything builds from there. 

Plots and characters drive each other.  The way a character reacts to or copes with something affects the plot, just as the plot forces the character to do something.  I like to create the two together, let them grow with one another, because then I never feel like I'm forcing characters into a plot or a plot onto the characters.

Comments

  1. I agree. It's tempting to figure out the entire plot and then create characters, or to create characters and force the plot to fit them, but the best stories take the two together with a general starting point and let it flow!

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  2. Laura: Definitely. The two have to grown naturally alongside each other, otherwise you'll get bored and no one will want to read it!

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