According to Gerke, there are two types of writers. Plot-Driven Writers and Character-Driven Writers. (PDW and CDW)
What defines each type?
PDW’s are wrapped into plot first. They start with that fantastic idea, that scene they can’t wait to get to and spreads the story out from there. They hit all the plot points, like little scene flags waving on the landscape of their story. They write the pulse-pounding stories that keep readers wanting to turn pages.
CDW’s, on the other hand, start with characters. They come up with that person and build until they talk in their head. Their characters are beautiful, intriguing personalities that shine against the background of the story they’ve developed.
Now this inevitably means that both of them also have faults. PDW’s tend to write flat characters and use cut-out archetypes. Their characters feel or sound the same. Whereas CDW’s have stunning dialogue, but struggle to have that page-turning quality. They lack the dynamic feeling of a good plot.
How do you fix it?
CDW’s have to learn to create plot by using their MC and drawing the story out from within them.
PDW’s have to learn to plot the MC’s changes.
Now this seems like a lot of bland speech, but the reality is, it makes sense.
CDW’s: work from the inside of your characters and use that to manipulate the world into something that fits them. Pay attention to their inner conflicts and figure out how to raise the stakes on them until they’re external conflicts. Make it bigger, make it stronger, make it more dangerous, until your character is working against the world and themselves.
PDW’s: (my people) I will plot until the cows come home and still not have decent characters. Alas, my problem is only fixed when I hunt through their backstory. I know I want them to get to a certain point, do a certain thing to advance the plot, so I work backwards. I find ways to make sure that they would react that way by reinforcing the behavior in their experiences. Plot out the changes in their backstory and they become more lifelike.
That’s where we’re starting, at least. I’m taking a journey into character development over the next couple of weeks, so keep a look out for articles.
As always, spread the love, comment, leave your opinion or helpful hints.
Keep writing, Lovelies