What’s More Important . . . Plot or Character Development?

I’ve read many books on fiction writing while trying to develop my writing skills, and I’ve visited and subscribed to some great websites of author’s who have posted great advice. I’ve learned a lot. Each author has his/her own way of developing their stories, but I’ve learned that developing your characters first is easier than jumping right in to your story like I did. But, hey, I didn’t know.

However, character development was my weakest link. I had to take the time to know my character’s personalities. Once I learned who they were, how they’d act and react, my story became a little easier to write.

Characters are the story because they’re human. They have a past, they eat, they breathe, they evolve. They must go through physical and emotional setbacks and changes, ups and downs. But these things give them, and your story, life. Characters grow through trials and hardships just as we do, and they must also learn from their mistakes, and from the mistakes of the other characters. Good or bad, we root for characters, not plot.

It seemed I was spinning my wheels until I took the time to get to know my characters. I was so caught up in the plot and the setting that my characters suffered. They were one-dimensional stick figures, but when I turned them into three-dimensional characters, they and the story began to come to life.

If you’re a beginning writer of fiction, get to know your characters. If you don’t, your story will suffer. Picture your characters in your mind’s eye. How do they act and react?  Do they stomp their feet when they’re  angry? Do they sulk? Pout? How do they act when they’re happy? Angry? Worried? Betrayed?

Character development is harder for some than others. I believe that it is one of the biggest reasons stories get rejected. A great website on character development is Angela Ackerman’s and Becca Puglisi’s,  Writers Helping Writers, formerly The Bookshelf Muse. They’ve done an awesome job on their site, and they’ve written three books on the subject of character development, which are great reference and brainstorming  tools. Angela and Becca also have various sections on their site on descriptions  like settings, weather, colors, textures, shapes, symbolism, and much more. Check them out.

If there is anyone who would like to comment on this topic and help other writers, it would be appreciated.

Thank you and have a wonderful day!

“. . . for with God all things are possible.” ~ Mark 10:27

 

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