17 November 2009

Plot versus Character

Funny to have two plot consultations with two different writers with such antithetical points of view when it comes to Plot versus Character.

In my previous blog post, I ranted about plot getting a bad rap. The day after, I consult with a writer who cares only for plot (or, since I believe character transformation is critical to plot, rather the dramatic action side of plot.) This writer states his preference right up front when he declares that he doesn't know how the character changes (Character Emotional Development) or what the story means over all (Thematic Significance). Further, he informs me, he doesn't care about that. All he wants is an action-packed story that will sell. (mass-market airport book as described by yesterday's writer)

Hmmmmm, I know there are writers of mystery and suspense who are quite successful without doing much to develop the character. But, it seems odd to me to think of a character going through all she does and not be affected by the dramatic action on some level -- perhaps not to a level of transformation but at least change. And, at the end of a long, exciting read, why not leave the reader with something to think about?

Oh, well, those are my ideals.

I'm here to support writers in their quest to follow their dreams. Not to judge. At least, not too harshly, but to help writers develop their stories.

When I have a spare moment -- yeah, right!-- I plan to do a survey of writers and ask what is their preference for writing Character-driven versus Action-driven stories AND which do they prefer reading?? Stay tuned....