Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day Ten of the Journey - Writing Question

If you've just stumbled upon this blog, 
you're probably wondering what's going on. 
To find out click here.
(If that doesn't work scroll down to the blog history and click on The Journey Begins.)

Now on to today's adventure.

Let's sit down and take a break. 
We've been walking across the 
Land of Desolation for quite some time.
I can hardly believe it's 
the tenth day of our journey. 
I hope you've been taking good 
care of the stone I gave you. 
You never know when you're going to need it.

Did you see that?

There behind Glynis.

There it goes again.

Now it's behind you. 
Turn around very slowly.

And what ever you do, don't run.

This little guy looks like quite the character.
After taking a rest here
 come on back and we'll start the journey 
with another writing question.

A friend asked: What is a "character" driven story?

Good question. The answer: a story centered on the main character's growth is a character driven story. Three key areas need to be addressed: emotions, inner conflict, and self-discovery.

Emotions: a character driven story's pulse beats on what the main character wants, needs and desires. Does she have a hair-trigger temper? Does he need to be with other people? What is his/her dream? What makes up a character is much more than the color of eyes or hair, it's what is deep inside that makes him/her live and breath for your readers.

Inner Conflict: What is your main character's fatal flaw and how does he/she deal with it? You need to pace your story around plot points that help your character deal with his inner conflict. It needs to build with each new discovery until you reach the climax... the character arc. This arc is where your character faces his inner demon head on, and when it's over she will never be the same.

Self-discovery: This happens immediately after the arc and is the point when everything clicks together for the character. Your character becomes a whole person. She knows who she is and what she wants out of life.

For me that's what a character driven story is about. But I personally think great stories are driven by a mix of plot and character. 
I'm just saying...


  1. I agree with you that the greatest stories are a mix of compelling characters and driving plot. I do enjoy character-driven stories, though. The characters are usually my favorite part of a novel!

  2. Laura,
    So true! And I love well-written characters. Great stories are full of them: Frodo, Harry Potter, Elizabeth Bennett, and the list goes on and on. And a great plot was developing along with those interesting and unforgettable characters.

    Though I do remember one book that had unforgettable characters, but I hated the book because the characters never grew. They were stagnate. Talk about disappointing. Those were many wasted hours of reading that I'll never get back. Don't you hate it when that happens?

  3. I also agree with your answer. (What a great answer to a great question.) I especially like the self-discovery!

  4. Carolyn,
    I'm glad you enjoyed the writing question and answer. I'm always glad to pass along something I've learned.

  5. I love strong characters who take me on a journey. Thanks for the information, it is so useful to have on file.

    Now about the lizard behind me...does it have teeth?

    I'm off!

  6. Glynis,
    I'm glad the information I gave about character driven plots is something you'll keep in your file.

    Now as for that lizard/iguana, I don't know if he has teeth, but I'd walk away very slowly. ;)

  7. I am so glad that lizard isnt behind me!!! Meagan W.

  8. Meagan,
    It's best to keep your eye on him. He's fast. ;)



Related Posts with Thumbnails