Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Book Experiment - The Results

Well, well, well, wasn't that interesting. In just about every single response (see comments in the last post), it was the characterization that held the reader's interest rather than the plot itself.

This little experiment was conducted because I wanted to see from a reader's standpoint what kind of book stood out as being memorable. Even if the plot literally sucks, if the characters can pull it off, you've still got a winner on your hands. Interesting.

So, when writing your books, concentrate more on developing your characters. While I feel that plot is important, of course, it's those characters that are the main deal.

I've started on a new book and I'm going to take this information to heart and concentrate more on making my characters carry the story. I'm going to breath life into them to the point where the reader doesn't even care about the plot, they just want to read about what's going on with the characters. If I can pull this off, then maybe I'll have a winner on my hands.

Oh, I believe in this story already. I think this makes my third completed manuscript. Wait, no, my fourth. While writing my other books, I concentrated too much on the plots, and didn't realize that it's the characters I should have concentrated more on. But, I know now. And, you know, it takes a lot of heat off the writing process. I love to delve into the characters, but I always have this plot thing going on in my mind, trying to figure out what I want my characters to do that correlates with where the plot was going. Now I know it's the other way around. Revolve the plot around the characters instead and watch the story unfold. I have a funny feeling that the plot will somehow write itself.

Take this story I'm writing right now. It revolves around two main characters who go back to earth as angels. They both have conflicts they need to resolve and while there is a plot of course, it's all about them and the characters that pop up while they're there. You almost don't even realize there's a plot because you are concentrating on these characters and where their adventures go. They could go to Timbuctoo for all you care, because it's not where they go or what they do while they're there, it's about their inner and outer conflicts and how they accomplish what they were sent out to do. It's all about THEM. I'm only at 100 pages, almost half way there, but so far, this book is about characterization, so maybe, just maybe, I'm on track. This experiment was mainly to help me see where I should devote my time, but hopefully, it'll help you, too. So, characterization wins!

1 comment:

  1. Dorothy - I think you'll do great. You know it's probably your strength - it is mine - maybe because both we're such characters. :) People-watchers, anyway. But today you also need a "high-concept" plot. Now that one's harder to figure out (sigh).

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