Questions 3: The Plot is the Glue or Something

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Last of the elements is plot.  This is the ‘what’ is happening to the characters and in the setting.  Also, you may want to explain ‘why’, which can overlap with the other two.  The simplest explanation is that these are the events to make readers care about everything else.  If you have no plot, you have no story to place the other pieces into.  Otherwise, you have a bunch of people standing around an area doing nothing.

  1. How much thought do you put into your plot before writing?
  2. Do you think plot influences characters or the other way around when you write?
  3. What is one piece of advice you would give to a new author about plot?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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14 Responses to Questions 3: The Plot is the Glue or Something

  1. noelleg44 says:

    As a pantser, I have only the loosest of ideas about the plot when I start a new book. General ideas of what I might want to be in the book but nothing carved in stone. My characters definitely push the plot. My advice to new authors: figure out which way works for you – plotting everything ahead of time if this makes you comfortable writing or just seeing where your initial ideas lead you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I put some thought into plot before actually writing the story, but I don’t plan out every little detail.

    Plot influences characters; characters influence plot. If they don’t, they’re not a good fit for one another: you have the wrong characters for that particular story, or the plot is missing something important.

    Advice to new authors: DO NOT fall into the trap of trying to force-fit whatever you write into a rigid interpretation of The Hero’s Journey, with every plot point carefully matched to the “required” percentage of the manuscript. Better yet, ditch it entirely and just plot your story however works best for your story — you’re not even required to have a mentor character, much less kill them off at a set point in the plot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good advice. Didn’t know the hero’s journey had percentages. Just a general path.


      • Percentages, fractions of the total word count, chapter numbers for when various plot points occur… Everybody who pushes for every writer to follow this particular template (which was not intended to be a ‘How to Write Fiction’ template in the first place) has their own way of describing when various story events must occur, but the problem is that they do think these events MUST occur, and must occur in that order, at those specific points, in every story. “The Call to Adventure has to happen on page five,” or, “Loss of the Mentor always happens in chapter twelve,” etc. (I spend too much time on Pinterest, some days. Pinterest is full of well-meaning but BAD advice to writers. Thus, I see a lot of bad advice for writers.)


      • I’ve never taken a writing class where the art was pushed to be so structured. At best, you get the parts of a story diagram. I’m wondering where this rigid idea gained so much ground now.


  3. L. Marie says:

    1. I used to be more of a pantser than I am now. If I had an idea (“Cyborgs in a space station”) I would start writing to explore where a new idea is going without any thought to plot and certainly not much thought about the characters. But nowadays I tend to think about the characters, plot points, and scenes.
    2. I have gone back and forth between plot driven and character driven. I tend to lean more toward character driven now.
    3. Go outside of your comfort zone. If you’re strong on structure/plotting, you might give more thought to developing your characters and letting them drive the plot more. If you’re less confident about structure, but can write strong characters all day every day, put on your plotting hat and give more thought to structure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The amount of thought I put into the plot before writing could be summed up this way. I have the ending and beginning figured out. I have a rough idea of some scenes, but that’s about it.
    I think the characters influence the plot to a great degree. However, sometimes I haven’t thought of situations that suddenly pop up.
    Advice to new authors about the plot is tricky. Indeed, you have to have a plot, but getting there is tough to advise. I would say new authors have to do a lot of writing and figure out the plot point. They should bear in mind the three-act play example that is pretty common on the web.


  5. Now you’ve stepped in it. Haha! I read all the comments. I put a decent amount of thought into my plots. I used to storyboard all of them, but now I often start with a partial board or none at all. In my mind. I have mental plots that will last me years into the future nowadays. Plot and characters are sort of crocheted together. They can’t be parallel lines, but have to influence each other to a degree. New author advice about plot: have one.

    I’ve written a lot about the hero’s journey, but they’re all guidelines. Most of the character archetypes are options except for the hero. I have no idea where this rigidity came from either.


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