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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Character v Plot Driven Novels: Which Should You Be Writing?

This is an email I sent to my editor last week:

I see an awful lot of information about character v plot driven novels on the Internet and it got me wondering - are my books character or plot driven?

And ...

Do you think certain genres demand a book to be one or the other? I'm reading a chick lit book at the moment that seems to be character driven and if I come to think about it most chick lit novels I've read seem to be this way. Although I can imagine most thrillers would be plot driven as they're usually fast paced etc.

Which begs a further question ... if my books are plot driven - do you think I should be writing them this way if I continue to write chick lit?

So, one question has turned into three.

Help, dear editor! :)

His response was extremely detailed. In fact, he hit the nail on the head. He states all my books are character driven and if I continue to write chick lit then this is how all of them should be.

But, what do you think about the issue I've raised? Should certain genres be written in a certain way or do you think that it would be a refreshing change to have plot driven women's fiction or character driven thrillers?

I am eager to hear your thoughts ...


  1. I think EVERY genre is character-driven - except non-fiction.

    Characters bring the stories alive and give readers someone to connect to.

    Writing character-driven works is not easy as one has to walk a tight line between info dump and how to make what the character experiences a way of expanding the horizon of your work.

    As I don't read chick lit, I can't comment on yours but agree with your editor.

  2. Character, character character in every genre with a story to tell. Creative non-fiction reads the same as fiction, except the story is real. To me, plot is the map and character is the driver who decides where to go. Make a character's house burn, and your reader is sad. Make a character's house burn, with his/her beloved thing/person/pet trapped inside and your character panicking outside, and your reader is compelled to find out what happens. IMHO, plot can drive a story for a bit, like auto-pilot, but the reader's engagement is totally hooked by the characters.

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