Plot Follows Character

By Brent King On February 7, 2014 Under Writing

“Plot is not a separate creature from character, but the outpouring of action that follows a character’s exploration.” – Jordan E. Rosenfeld

468px-Final_fantasy_xv_charactersA link on Twitter sent me to Jordan’s blog the other day and, in the middle of an article on plot, I found the sentence above. These few words speak volumes to me. Here’s why:

It took me a mere three weeks to write the rough draft to my first novel. It just flowed out of me without much plotting. However, the second book in the trilogy has mired down, although I know roughly what it is about and what I want to say. As I read Jordan’s brief words, I realized what my problem is. Unlike the first book, I am too focused on plotting the story line. The solution is simple: follow my characters wherever they need to go and write out what they do as they act and react to the things that stimulate them.

Perfecting the weave of it doesn’t have to happen up front. Once the character’s core performances are laid out, they can be intertwined, twisted, and expanded to enrich the plot. Like Jordan says, this plot will flow out of my understanding of my character’s fears, flaws and desires; my understanding of what makes them tick. For me this is the most important thing anyway, for it the reason why I’m writing in the first place. My characters are dealing with the same things I’m struggling with and trying to understand. Their actions and reactions are only informing me and my readers of the truth of our life struggles.

When I start out to write a story I know what I want to say. Since my characters are going to say if for me in my tale, then I only need to truly understand each of them and my story will write itself. Thanks for the epiphany Jordan!

How does this work for you? Do comment below.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jordan Rosenfeld
    February 7, 2014
    1:02 am #comment-1

    So glad when ideas collide in just the right way. Thanks for linking to me!


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