Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday's Thought: Do You Prefer Character-Driven or Plot-Driven Stories?

Every story should have a plot, and every protagonist should have a character arc. So what, exactly, are character-driven and plot-driven stories? I believe that a character-driven novel is one that mostly centers around a character's inner journey (example: The Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn). In a plot-driven novel, the story focuses more on the series of events (example: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins). This doesn't mean that a character-driven stories lack a plot, or that plot-driven stories lack character arcs. I've noticed that character-driven stories are a bit more relaxing to read than a plot-driven story, which seem to be a bit more page-turning.

However, I have heard that there is no such thing as character-driven or plot-driven stories. I don't necessarily agree with this. Of course, every book should have a mixture of both. Plot and character are the elements that create a story; they should never be separated. A story is not a story unless there is a plot that involves the protagonist striving to reach his/her inner and outer goals, and growing during the process. I personally prefer to read/write character-driven stories. I love relating to characters and going on a journey with them--especially an inner journey--as they learn throughout their struggles and have ultimately changed by the end of the story.

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What do you think? Do you prefer to read/write character-driven or plot-driven stories? 

2 comments:

  1. I definitely prefer character-driven stories, and I definitely think there IS such a thing. That's why I liked the first two books in The Hunger Games, but couldn't make myself finish the last one. (How I did try!!!) My favorite character sort of just disappeared for a while and the story just seemed to go on forever. I wasn't captivated by the plot as much as I was by the characters. My writing is the same way. My plot may not be too exciting, but my characters are quite charming. :)

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  2. Thanks for the explanation! I've heard the distinction before but never quite understood it. It's still slightly fuzzy as I've never read the Hunger Games. But I get the idea. I think most of the books I read are more character-driven. I guess, it's just easier to identify and learn quite a bit.

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