Characters or Plot… That’s the Question

2016 #ROW80 Round 1: Check-In 12 | 10 Minute Novelist: Update 6

The validity of character driven versus plot driven stories is as old as fiction writing. In my case, I prefer character driven because I fall in love with them before I know what’s going to happen.

This week, I’m working with a new WIP in which the setting has to be as important as the rest of the story. I have a three-page synopsis, chapter outline, and my main characters. The only problem? I’m not in-love with my boys, yet, because I spent more time than normal working in all the other aspects. As of tomorrow, I’ll start dating them, and if everything goes right, they will tell me their story. And then, words will flow.

Do you have a preference? Or do you use a mix of everything?


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Ten Minute Novelists



  1. thanks for the intro to 10-minute novelists (new to me!) and the strategy for how to organize a novella that’s been climbing around my mind for awhile. I must confess that my characters drive my stories and I’m never sure what they’re going to do until they start interacting. But I’d like to try this preplanning process you outline here. Make it a good writing week!

    1. Thank you! This is my first year doing the 10-minute novelist, and it has been interesting. Have fun with your novella. The pre-writing stage is my favorite. If I can do just that, and have someone else write the story, it would be great 🙂

  2. I like a combination. In general, my characters come to me through scenes and snippets of dialogue and action, so i get to know them while also learning bits of their stories and how they interact.

    Generally, I plan and plot with open-ended methods that let me explore both the characters and action, I like Rock Your Plot, use several elements of The Snowflake Method, and will be planning and plotting my next novel, part of a series, with the aid of Rachel Funk Heller’s Writer’s Coloring Book.

    I don’t tend to be an either/or person. I see each story as an organic entity, and my role mostly as discovering the story and the people in it.

    Going to check out the Ten Minute Novelist, because it sounds interesting. =)

  3. I’m a professed pantser. I start with an intriguing scene (mostly focused on characters), then figure out why they’re there and what they’re doing–and what the inciting incident is so I can start drafting. Learning about the characters, letting them lead means my next draft has to go back and fill in location holes. So far, it’s worked quite well for me.

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