Driving the Plot

Thursday, July 30

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." -- E.L. Doctorow

A big misconception is that every book has to have a main character. Believe it or not, it’s possible to write a book without having a main character (be forewarned, this could get a trifle long.)

There are two driving forces; CHARACTER DRIVEN and EVENT DRIVEN.

Character driven just means that the focus is on your main character. They make things worse through his/her actions, they struggle, they struggle, makes it worse again, until he/she finally triumphs at the end. (Example: HARRY POTTER)

Event Driven is a about a series of events that gets worse and worse though various characters’ actions until at the end good wins over evil, or whatever they’re trying to accomplish. (Example: LORD OF THE RINGS)

I started a book once about this boy. I had the hardest time writing about him. And then I realized; I really didn’t like him! I didn’t want to write about him. I tried changing his name and personality but to no avail. Yet, in order to do the book as a character-driven one it was vital to leave him in.  So I did event driven and cut the blasted character out.  True, that story is one of the many rough drafts I never completed. But at least I want to write it. And even if it never does get finished, I learned something… by failing.

1. Who’s the main character?
2. What does he/she do?
3. How does his/her actions get them into trouble?
4. What do they plan to do about it?
5. What forces are working against them? (It can include several smaller problems.)
6. How do they overcome these forces?
7. What happens when they’ve overcome the forces and reached their goal?
8. The End

1. What’s the big problem?
2. How does it affect the majority of the world?
3. Who does it affect in particular?
4. Who wants to help stop it?
5. What happens as they try to stop it?
6. What opposing forces do all of them face?
7. What struggles does each character go through?
8. How do they succeed?
9. Do they fix the big picture, or just protect a good group of people from the problem? (For example, they could help people escape a war.)
10. What happens?
11. The End

Realize that this is not a seamless set of directions but an outline to get you started.

2 comment(s):

Anonymous,  Sunday, August 02, 2009  


Rogue Monday, December 12, 2011  


I thank you very much for all the helpful information on here. I've recently bought five different books on writing that have not helped as much. :-)
Veronica T.
On Any Given Day http://restlessspirit-rogue.blogspot.com

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