Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunshine, Characters, Plot

Yesterday, my adorable Daddy and I walked around the city in 90 degree heat! Then, we ended up in my non-airconditioned apartment, where we baked even more. Oh, the joys of summer.
A good rain is refreshing every once in a while; the world needs to be cleansed and renewed, just like all of us.

Some people prefer the rain over sunshine...some enjoy curling up inside and hearing the rain on their windows...others love working during the rain

We sauntered through Union Square, where hundreds of vendors set up their tents, selling everything from organic honey to kittens. I saw a stand of sarcastic women posters and loved this one:

After he left, I sat in the very well air conditioned Borders to escape the heat. (I have a terrible habit of reading 3-4 books simultaneously, which also indicates my utterly present A.D.D.) Anyway, I was thinking about whether our books are plot driven or character driven.

Which, if either, do you prefer? Do you know your endings before you even construct your beginnings?

Over these past months, I have learned little ways that help me make my work character driven:

*Fill out a fictional character chart
*Ask, what would he or she do, before plotting the next chapter(s)
*Give them distinct traits that set them apart from anyone else, including their manner of speaking
(I read that if you were to take different pieces of your dialogue and present it to someone who has already read your book, they should be able to tell which character it came from.)

*I also received incredible gifts from an incredible person. I have babbled about my office supply obsession before, but these two top them all:

A fountain pen and a feather quill pen!!!

(Even though most of us type out our manuscripts, there seems to be a timeless charm to handwritten notes.)

Some things just make writing more fun.

Do you have special writing instruments??


  1. I love thinking about the whole plot/character conundrum... I like to think I have stories driven by a plot which is driven by the characters... Sometimes the balance will lean one way or the other, but too much and it makes me nervous--with my own stories.
    I like your tips on creating characters. The dialogue one will be really useful!

  2. I think my novel is plot-driven, mostly because that's the way my brain is wired to think. I love characters and I love exploring them, but when I plot, I do so in scenes driven by action.

    As for endings, it really depends. I normally have my beginning and my central conflict before I have my ending -- but often, the beginning turns out to be a false one, so in that sense, I do construct my endings first. :)

  3. I prefer character driven stories both in my reading and my writing. I do enjoy plot driven books, but my favourites are always all about the characters. :)

  4. My WIP is a little bit of both. I also definitely know my endings before I start!
    I love that poster of the woman. Totally made me laugh!

  5. This one is plot driven, but since this is my first attempt, it comforted me to have some idea where I was going.

  6. Interesting - your posts always make me think. I write some, but not like you or the commentors above. I dabble--basically I jot something down when the mood strikes and then never look at it again. But the tiny bits that I have written always seem to be character driven, which I think comes from me being very interested in human nature and relationships. They probably could have used a little more plot, which is probably why my fiction writing never seems to go anywhere. But now that I have read your post, I may try to revisit some of them.

  7. Good post! Sometimes I know the endings before the middle of the book. But the beginnings always come first.

  8. hmmmm... i try not to think about it too much, as i feel i will confuse myself. i usually start with the climax on an idea, some main issue, then i try to work out where it all started. then i have an idea of what things or events or moments the characters may go through but how this happens to them sometimes surprises me, and how they deal with it because of who they are comes from them. i guess i try to let them tell the story- im just the flowing pen. or not so flowing depending on whether they want to talk or not :)

    thank-you so much for stopping by and commenting! i always love talking to other writers starting out and tossing up all these ideas. some of my little ways you would have seen on my post :) thanks again! nice to meet you!

  9. I hear you on the heat thing. I'm meeeelllltttiiing!

    I did have a special writing pencil but then I lost it! I was so sad - no idea where it went.

  10. I'm so stealing the I dont give a shit picture! It is brilliant! Well,the whole post was brilliant!

    I love to work on the rain. I was born on a rainy day,my mom thinks that's why.

    and OMG a quill pen!!! That is one of the best gifts a writer can have, kudos to you! =D

  11. Quill pen--very nice. But I pretty much only write on a computer so for me it would just be for show.

  12. I like a blend between plot-driven and character-driven. The best books are both. I am better at plot than I am at character. Good point about a reader being able to identify a character by their dialogue... I'm so not there yet, sigh.

    Love the comic of the "professional" writer in her fuzzy pink slippers!

  13. Margo, I'm definitely not there, either!! Haha, I am jealous of those fuzzy slippers...wish I had a pair myself!

  14. Thanks for stopping by. Internet is full of ideas, when you go searching for something , something totally different and interesting turns up, and one gets inspired. I would love to be your friend and exchange ideas. So lets keep seeing each other through our blogs.