Tag Archives: plot
At our last writer’s group meeting, we were talking about conflict. No conflict, no story, right? As mentioned yesterday, one of my favorite types of conflict is Character vs Self, but there are other types as well:
Character vs Character — usually the most common external conflict, and tends to play out in the classic good versus evil, with the protagonist wanting something and the antagonist doing all they can to prevent it.
Character vs Society — Hunger Games, anyone? Character vs Society is about a character going against the traditional views of the world they live in, giving the external conflict a broad perspective and consequences that can reach out further than just the character.
Character vs Nature — this conflict pits the protagonist against the forces of nature, usually in the form of a natural disaster or perhaps an animal or beast.
Character vs Technology — found usually in sci-fi stories, Character vs Technology is when the protagonist faces robots or other machinery in the way of what they want.
Character vs Supernatural — a stable in most horror stories, supernatural obstacles are what prevents the protagonist from their goal. This is also called Character vs Fate, especially if gods or other immortal beings are involved.
They’re all very basic definitions, of course, with a myriad of examples that can be tacked onto each. It’s interesting to think of the bare-bones of stories, what makes the skeleton of the book, like the simplest conflict. Moby Dick is Character vs Nature, Harry Potter has Character vs Character, Fahrenheit 451 is Character vs Society, The Night Circus is Character vs Supernatural…
What about your favorite stories, either ones you’ve read or ones you’ve written?
With the holidays in just a few short days, have you ever thought about how your characters would celebrate?
What kind of gifts would they give? What kind of gifts would they like to receive? If Christmas isn’t a holiday in your story’s setting, what kind of holidays do they celebrate?
Better yet, how would your character react to the holidays if he/she/they suddenly found themselves in our world? What would they think of a Christmas tree, of a menorah?
Perhaps your stories don’t have room for any holidays in the plot, but wondering how your characters celebrate (or don’t) can be an extra exercise in developing their personalities.
Rachel and I recently started reading over a first draft of each other’s stories with the intent to give the draft an edit and critique by the end of the month. We’re reading through the stories before stabbing them with red pens so we each get a good idea as to what the story is about and how our styles work.
Granted, we’ve been writing together for years, but it’s a different thing to read a whole novel rather than a flash fiction on a Sunday blog post.
Before we both started reading, her biggest concern was her main character’s development throughout the story while I just bluntly said about mine, “Make sure it makes sense.”
When Rachel writes, she forms her plot first, characters second, having a map and sending characters to (hopefully) follow the route while recording how they respond. I’m the polar opposite, preferring to let my characters do improv on the stage of my mind before nailing down an actual plot for them.
Every so often I piped up with questions about her character, trying to figure out how, in my opinion, her character would tick and react to the events unfolding around her. Rachel would in turn ask who exactly the main character in my story was considering I tended to switch points of view with different segments.
I didn’t really have a good answer for her, as several characters could take up the mantel. The scope of my story, the cast of my characters, was large enough to warrant multiple points of view that allowed the reader to see what was happening at different points, from different places, of the story. Rachel, on the other hand, has the one main character with a whole world around to explore, get lost, and interact with.
We both just started this adventure of reading each other’s stories, and I’m very interested to see what kind of critiques we’ll both give each other.
What about you? Which do you tend to develop or focus on more in a story, plot or characters?
So I found this nifty thing on Pinterest the other day. Everyone know the Myers-Briggs Personality Test? This describes what kind of writer you are based on your results of that test.
A few years ago when I had taken the test, my result was ENTJ, the Commander archetype — “bold, imaginative and strong-willed leaders.” I was always perfectly fine with that, figuring it suited me for the most part. Upon reading this little chart, I agreed with the Extrovert and Intuit section, but the other two sections made me pause.
While I do enjoy a good mystery or sci-fi story once in a while like a Thinker, my stories definitely drift toward focusing more on character rather than plot. And I’m sure everyone here knows how much of a pantser I am! I’m definitely not a plotter like the other Judgers!
So I retook the test, and what do you know? I got ENFP, with a healthy dose of assertiveness. An ENFP is called a Campaigner, basically an enthusiastic and independent free spirit with a good deal of leadership qualities.
What about all of you? Does this chart match your Myers-Briggs personality type?