Plot-driven vs. Character-driven

@phyrre (2324)
United States
May 20, 2009 10:59pm CST
This is the age-old question that has stumped many a new writer, like myself. While I'm not as new as some, I'm still fairly new to the writing scene and I wanted some opinions on this because I've heard both ways. Do you prefer plot-driven works or character-driven and why? Many of mine seem to be a mix (they start as plot-driven and then change to accommodate the characters), but my most recent short story is very character driven with very little plot to go on, so I wanted some other opinions just to be sure. I know there are some pretty famous writers that go on both, but I'm still confused as to the advantages and disadvantages of each, so if anyone could clear that up, too, that would be wonderful!
1 response
@xParanoiax (6999)
• United States
30 May 09
It doesn't matter to me, as long as the story itself is good and unique. My works switch back and forth and are frequently a mix to varying degrees. Advantages versus disadvantages of each? Man, I've never thought of it in those terms. Well character-based is the most obvious and most common, which makes it more challenging to find a unique way to go about a story formatted around a character. But on the upside, it's a more personal relationship between the story and the readers that way. More direct. Plot based is less obvious. It's the reason why many readers of books or watchers of shows/movies never thought of the question you're asking before. They didn't realize there's multiple kinds of drives to stories and that there's subtle differences to each. Plot drive though, can last longer with a person than character-driven. Example; once a character's story is over you may occasionally think back fondly or in loathing, but a plot, particularly if it stays fairly open-ended and holds plenty of things in it that catch a person...will probably keep a good hold on people for most of their lives. It can help bring in and keep in, fans. However, most plot drivens tend to take a little while to develop...and you may lose the readers before you get to the good stuff. Mixtures tend to be best, because then you're not fighting against the disadvantages of either. They complement one another nicely...and being so full, they hold a richness that people can appreciate. ...I'm being absurdly general, but your question (more specific than many new-er writers') was a bit general to begin with, so I hope you don't mind. ^_^' I don't usually think of these kinds of things, because I don't care very much about being successful. My entire goal is being a good writer and helping my style continue to evolve until I die (and can't write anymore). My focus is on the stories and making them original.