Friday, January 10, 2014

Quick! Before it escapes

whew, managed to catch "and" hold on to it this time.

Because of the arc, the biggest difference between a character-driven story and a plot-driven story is the way motivation is handled.

In a plot-driven story, motivation drives the heroine to achieve the goal. That's conscious motivation and subconscious motivation  (hopefully, lol) in service of that. Say...oh, maybe my urban fantasy heroine wants to shut the gates of Hell (her conscious motivation) and her semi-subconscious motivation is that she wants to make amends for her past behavior, prove she's stronger than her former master, be respected for who and what she is, and maybe overcome a little self-loathing.

In a character-driven story, the heroine might want to shut the gates of Hell (her conscious motivation) "but" at the moment of change (her transformational point), her motivation shifts from conscious (and semi-subconscious) motivation to what she really wants (her sub "sub"conscious motivation) and it "becomes" her conscious motivation (all along she wanted a loving relationship. Which is still a lot of conflict since she's in a pitched battle)

which means? I'm not sure. But I suspect it means that in a (well) plotted story, the motivation runs sort of in parallel layers and the heroine would be fairly self-aware, whereas in a character-driven story the heroine would have a lot of internal conflict as she fights her subconscious, so she's less aware. Hmm. That could be why so many goal-oriented stories have such stable (as stable goes) characters. I wonder if that means that character-driven writers are simply drawn to fixing broken things?

4 comments:

Lisa said...

"I wonder if that means that character-driven writers are simply drawn to fixing broken things?"

There's a lot of truth in that!

For me, it's not so much about fixing something that's broken, as about the journey from A to B, A being one version of the character and B being a more whole version. How does someone do that? How do they overcome their inner demons, face their fears, look into their shadows and walk out the other side all the stronger?

That's the sort of thing I like discovering as I write. :)

Jodi Henley said...

I've always liked that too. I like finding out about my characters and watching them get better (or not). Looking back on it, I can see why plotting drove me nuts, lol.

It's definitely a voyage of discovery :)

kellyc said...

I struggle with plot driven vs character driven and what the difference is. Even when creating an outline I cannot tell which one it is. Any examples from popular books would help.

Jodi Henley said...

Hi Kelly! Thanks for dropping by :) It's hard to tell (without you telling me) which genre you like (because that would make it click easier, you know?)

let me write a post for you, okay?