Writing a Book Together: Character Moves Plot

When I started this novel with you (I sorta have ideas for it but I’m not quite sure yet how the story is going to unwind) I thought I had a perfect couple of first lines. They were funny and said a lot about the star of the show.

There was the plastic fern and a girl who’s shy and the fact that she cleans doctor’s offices with her dad’s cleaning company. A girl and a guy and a dad who’s watching over his kid. Almost immediately the story changed itself with the addition of a character. Another fella. (Hello! says Dad.) The tension rose with the addition and I saw huge possibilities with it. My excitement rose. I could already see conflicts for my main character.

Many years ago, someone, I can’t remember who, taught me this: Character moves plot. The decisions your character makes, and her choices when something is presented to her, point the direction to the climax of the novel. Character driven novels that follow this simple idea can have both plot and those ‘real people’ that make this type of book so appealing.

Adding a stumbling block (dad) and an extra character (new fella) can shake things up. Allowing complications within the main character and all around her, give her the opportunity to make choices as to what might happen in her book life.

Perhaps you have an idea where you want your novel to go. Perhaps you have a few incidents already in your head that you’re excited to write. Don’t force them into the story. Let the story come about naturally as your character makes decisions on which way she should go.

 

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4 Comments

Filed under Character, First Line, Plot

4 responses to “Writing a Book Together: Character Moves Plot

  1. ajillionthings

    Great suggestions. I would love to be a fly on the wall, or in your head–okay that’s creepy, but you get what I mean hopefully, while you write. πŸ˜‰

  2. Karen Pierotti

    I had that same experience. I had my historical novel/romance all worked out in my head with my protagonist and the guy she loved and how they were eventually going to get together in the end.Then in the third chapter I introduced another man. I know. A triangle. But I liked the new guy so much better—so did my protagonist—the novel went in a whole new and richer direction. .

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