Character is Your Plot


The world is ending outside the door to my apartment. Or they’re laying new carpet in the hall. Regardless, I’m going to try to eke out this blog post, either to be greeted by lush newness underfoot or the four horsemen. Although how they’ll get those horses in the elevator is quite a puzzle.

Anyway, character. It’s one of those things your story must have, or no one will want to read it. People have to be able to latch onto someone in the story, to have someone to root for or against.

“Yeah, yeah yeah,” you say, “I know that.” Well, great.

Because it is that essence of character that drives your story. In fiction, like in life, the way people react to and interact with the world around them depends on who they are. If your character is an apathetic slacker, that will shape what happens next. An apathetic slacker with a leak in the kitchen isn’t going to call the plumber; she’s going to wait until there’s a flood.

A go-getter, though, will call at the sight of the tiniest drop.

Who becomes involved and how the story progresses then diverges. The slacker might, because of the leak, have an interaction with an irate neighbor and realize she’s seen him somewhere before: a “Wanted” poster at the Post Office. The go-getter’s plumber might also be a fugitive, but now there’s an entirely different set of circumstances surrounding their meeting.

If you are stuck while writing, always go back to character. Who are your characters? What do they want? And what will they do get it?

All right, that’s it for now. I hear neighing from outside my door.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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2 thoughts on “Character is Your Plot

    • I laughed loudly enough at that that I think the hammering stopped for a moment. There are either 4 horsemen or untold numbers of workmen who likely think that an insane woman lives here. Of course, they wouldn’t be entirely wrong.


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