Character and Plot

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I’ve been working on my plot this week – which means I’ve been working on character.

I’ve been struck again by how interwoven these two are. We artificially separate them out to talk about them, but in practice, you can’t work on plot without considering character.

  • Conflict. For example, when I tried to decide on what conflict would enhance this plot, I realized I needed to know my villain better. This surprised me. I thought it would be enough to know the main character of this subplot better; but she’s in direct opposition to her villain and without knowing his motivations, skills, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, I couldn’t develop the conflict.
  • Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaxxon/22907128/

    Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaxxon/22907128/

  • Life events. Also, my main character has just had a traumatic event in her life and many issues remain unresolved. I sorta knew her basic character, but I did some reading about child psychology and how kids typically deal with similar events. Apathy and daydreaming were mentioned. I realized that while my character might be generally cheerful, these events in her life might make her forgetful, she might lapse into daydreaming at the wrong moments. Ah, conflict.
  • From the beginning. The worst of it is that I had to go back to the beginning of the story again and start to weave in character traits and make slight modifications to conflict. Sigh. But in the end, the story will be more consistent and much stronger. It’s been a good revision this week.

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