Characters Over Plot

Every single time I sit down to write a new story, I remind myself that characters drive the story. Therefore, they drive the plot.

Following that logic, the plot of a story—any story for that matter—is not primary. Characters are not secondary.

It’s the other way around. Characters are primary; plot is secondary.

This is my approach when writing stories:

I come up with a character first. Or characters.

The plot, the problem, the conflict, everything else comes after.

15 thoughts on “Characters Over Plot

  1. That’s an interesting way to write. It’s true, though. I can have a plan and then the characters just kind of go the opposite way. I usually come up with a title first and then base a plot around that. Odd, but it works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that characters should generally be placed higher than plot. But plot, if not given the right attention, can ruin your characters, no matter how good they are (if you have great characters but nothing interesting to do with them, what’s the point?). Equal amounts may be good. I personally would say that characters should always get an edge — but don’t underestimate plot, either.

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  3. I am more of a plot/conceptual person, so I usually come up with an idea that I populate with characters. I don’t think I’ve ever come up with a good character and then thought “what do I want them to do?” However, I agree with you that both plot and character are very important and you can’t have a good book if one of them is weak. And I think I’d rather read about intriguing people doing boring things than I would about boring people doing intriguing things

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