Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wanted: Plots

I am a plot junkie. I love reading about crazy twists and how to up the drama without making the reader want to gag (and I’m still fine if I have to gag a little reading it). It’s one of my dreams to write a long-standing series, and I have a plot line brewing for that too, it’s just a matter of getting it to paper.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my characters. You have to get me invested in the characters first, but then the plot has to keep me. I can’t have Mr. or Miss Awesome just being awesome without anything happening for 300 pages. Wouldn’t work. I need the drama of it all, truly and deeply.

I dream in plots. Half the time, I’m an observer in the dream. It’s like watching a movie unfold. I’m sure I’m in there, but who knows how important I am. And while that may sound like I need to break out my old dream interpretation book to see what I’m suffering from, it makes for good book plots for me to write down.

I can’t tell you how many dreams have turned into book plots for me. My soon to be released book of yay (because I’m excited about it), started in part that way. I’m far more creative in my dreams, so I steal from them often.

My point, with this rambling and possibly incoherent post, is that I need a great plot to make me believe it’s a great story. Characters are also needed, but they both have to come together to make something worth it. My goal is to make the MC realistic, even if the world/plot isn’t. One can sell the other, as far as I’m concerned.

What do you think? Are plot and character equal? Is one more important than the other? Let me know in the comments.

Now, to leave you with a song to write by, “Blue Light” by Bloc Party. Pretty. 


  1. I couldn't agree more. I've read enough of the "novel of ideas" genre to make me never want to read another one ("Crime and Punishment", etc.). There needs to be an engaging plot by page 50 or I'm done. Characters are important, but who cares if they're just sitting there? Or, who cares if they just do one big thing and then sit there and watch the consequences play out? Ugh.

  2. Chris, THANK YOU. especially for the Ugh. It's necessary. I agree that page 50 is good point to expect something by. I'll give anything that chance to be good.

  3. My one complete ms came about from a dream, and so did my current WiP. It's kind of sad that I'm more creative asleep than awake!

  4. Gina, it's sad but true for me too. I have a dream; I wake up; I think "wow, that's odd...but neat", and then I frantically write it all down in my brain book. It's a regular process for me. Sigh. :)

  5. I think they do pretty much exist on equal footing! For me, amazing characters can make a slightly lacklustre plot shine - while dull, stupid characters can make a brilliant, twisty plot mindlessly unreadable. So maybe I'm a character person. I need to love/hate characters to be invested in a story. But I don't think even a fantastic character can make a stupid, ridiculous, outrageous, lazy plot seem good.

  6. They both go together. Lacking one and the whole book will just flop.

  7. Thank you so much for your comment! It's lovely to meet you!
    Good luck, and thank you for your luck wishing! ( :

  8. I always say that both are too important for one to prevail over the other. Ideally, both should work together to produce a masterpiece. And omg, I didn't know you were self-publishing! Wow, you are one of a few peeps over on twitter who are so brave to do that. *bows* Good luck! ^_^

  9. My next book is devoid of character. It is all plot. As Stravinsky used rhythm in the Rite of Spring, I'm using plot to punch in the face. There is no character in The Hyper Reality Show. All is spectacle, all is plot, all the of the protagonists play a role. But only a role. Your role is The Reader. I hope you play it well.

  10. I guess it all depends on what kind of fiction you're writing. So-called "literary" fiction is heavily character-based and introspective, with little emphasis on plot. Other fiction calls for lots of plot twists and high drama with stereotyped, predictable characters. They're both fine and appropriate within their genres.
    Personally, I like a mix. The story has to grab, but I don't want the characters to have what I like to think of as "placeholder personalities." As in it could've been anyone thrown into the action. I want the characters to be real and developed. :)

  11. As a reader, I need both. But a lack of good characters will make me put a book down faster than lack of plot.

    I do think it depends on the genre as well.

  12. Sangu and Jenna, YAY, we agree. They're practically equal in my book, but I also love when one aspect is so awesome I could forget that it lacks in the other.

    Romi, nice to meet you too! Thanks for stopping by my little blog :)

    Lyn/Violeta, call me brave when it's out there and I'm not hiding in the corner lol. I am excited though...

    Simon K, sounds interesting. hard to pull off maybe, but interesting. Good luck!

    laurathewise, I agree with that too; it really does depend on the story. I'm scratching my head, but I can't come up with any of my favorites that weren't amazing at doing both aspects really well.

    Wosushi, it sounds like you and laurathewise are on the same page. Genre is way important when it comes down to which aspect is more developed.

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