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Voices of Fiction - Character versus Plot - Part One
Welcome to Voices of Fiction.
Today and over the next few weeks, we are exploring what comes first, character or plot. Some authors create a cast of characters and set them into motion. Others develop a plot and then cast characters into roles to fulfill the actions. And, of course, there are those somewhere in between.
I hope you all enjoy this part of the series.
Please welcome this wonderful group of authors.
Cherie Reich is a writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. She is a member of Valley Writers and the Virginia Writers Club. Links – Website, Blog, Facebook
Joylene Butler is the author of Dead Witness and Broken But Not Dead. Links – Website, Blog
Cindy Huefner Cromer, formally a New Jersey resident, now resides in Stuart, Florida, with her husband, son, and daughter. Cindy works as a laboratory scientist and executive. As the president of a laboratory network, she has written numerous laboratory procedures and research documents. Driven by a passion for suspense and mystery novels, she dreamed of becoming a writer. Her dream turned into reality with the release of her debut suspense novel, Desperate Measures. She is currently working on her second novel, Desperate Deceptions. Plans are in place for her third and fourth books.
Website, Link, Link
Thea Landen writes erotic literature, frequently in a sci-fi/fantasy setting. When she's not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games. Blog, Link, Link
Jared Gullage, an English Language Arts teacher in Alabama, is the author of Drinna, The Dustfinders, and The Afterknight. Through his father's introduction to books like The Hobbit, Great Expectations, and works by Ray Bradbury, Jared discovered a universe within his own imagination. Jared put his vision to work through role-play games and then storytelling. Following his father's words, "paint pictures with words", this compulsive writer plans to leave his mark upon the writing world, one dent at a time.
Welcome Authors! It’s wonderful to have you back for another round.
Now the question is: What comes first, the character or the plot?
Cherie Reich: Character comes first and followed very closely behind by the plot.
Joylene Butler: The character. She or he comes to me long before I know their story. I actually try to ignore them because I'm usually busy on an unfinished manuscript. They hang around until I'm ready, moving through my mind like a video. Sometimes it's as if they're trying to figure out if they can trust me.
Cindy Huefner Cromer: Definitely the character. My writing is character driven and I can’t help but introduce each one into the plot with a hidden secret or cloaked in suspicion, regardless of how minor or major their role is. When editing my second book, Desperate Deceptions, I had every intention to scrap a scene and character in the beginning. However, during the process, inspiration hit and now this character is an integral part of the plot. Readers have commented that I have a lot of characters but tie them up in the ending. I flinch when I hear this because I don’t enjoy books where the author introduces every character in the first few chapters in a slug with their whole history. My top priority is to introduce each character slowly into the book and make the reader want to know more about them and what they are hiding.
Thea Landen: The plot usually comes first for me. I think of an idea, a story arc, what I want to happen, and then I see how characters fit into that. Sometimes it's just one or two characters to get the point across. Sometimes it's a whole army. (In the aforementioned future work, it might LITERALLY be a whole army!)
Jared Gullage: The idea usually starts with a plot, but I like to create characters more. I think theme and character are the stuff that truly good stories are made of. If you have good characters, you can put them anywhere, doing anything, and people will still enjoy it. If you have bad characters, no amount of plot will save them.
Thank you all for joining us today and sharing your techniques.
Readers feel free to ask questions concerning this topic in the comments. Also feel free to send questions to email@example.com Subject: Voices of Fiction Question, and have them answered by the participating authors in later editions.
There’s also room for more authors to participate. Drop me an email, Subject: Voices of Fiction.
(Disclaimer - Bios and answers have been posted as submitted by author)