Friday, January 12, 2007

Character, Plot and Voting....

"You see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream things as they never were and ask, 'Why not?'" - George Bernard Shaw

Yunno... about yesterday and that P&E and my story and go-forth-and-vote-for-me thing... Um, it's clear that not ALL the romance short stories from the year are there, so how do you get on there? Are you nominated and then seconded or something? Just curious.

And if you didn't know what I'm talking about, go see the post below this one.

So, I was reading Jenny's response to Bob's inital post this week on their How To Write Workshop. And much of it intrigued me.

It's all about plot vs. character, though she clarifies and says that it shouldn't be plot VS. character, but plot AND character.

For example, she writes:

The event or situation that begins your book happens to Character A and because of the kind of person Character A is, you get Story A. But if the exact same event happens to Character B, you get Story B. Character determines plot.
I suppose that, intellectually, I have always known this. But I wanted to test the theory.

So, I wondered (and this will make little sense to those of you who haven't read my WIPs, but bear with me)... what would happen if I took Camilla's situation of having an unwanted person forced upon her and put Liv, Tish or my newest heroine, Laurie, into the same situation?

Liv would rent a hotel room -- a really nice, swank, plush, over-the-top hotel room for one of them. Or hire help. And he might end up being her type, but I don't know if she'd give him the time of day long enough to find out.

Tish would be his friend and mother. They'd go shoot some hoops together and then she'd cook him dinner and iron his clothes. But they'd never fall madly in love.

Laurie would leave. It's what she does best. When the going gets tough, Laurie gets going.

The fact is that the story would be completely different if I changed the heroine. So I suppose that means that, for me at least, character really does determine plot. Or, conversely, plot (or the end result that you desire) determines the characters you use.


Maybe I'll mix it up a little more, just for fun. Take character A from one story and introduce them to character B from another. Hmmm ... I think Minerva and Geoff might be an interesting couple.

What about your stories? Do you think that any of your H/H's could be interchangable? And do you start with plot and add characters to fit or do you think of interesting characters and then add a plot that works for them?


Judy said...

All of my stories have always started with a person and something they wanted. A God-given Husband, of course, started with Abigail and wondering what her marriage to Nabal was like. Fiona's Dream started with Fiona wanting a house to turn into a B&B (of course, now she wants it for an antique store/tea room... such a fickle girl). Lizzie's Song... well, it's all about Lizzie's life before she's a ghost. So.... yeah, no other character would work for those stories.

Holly Kennedy said...

I start with the story (beginning to end) almost 100% complete in my head, and then add the characters. It's not always easy but I LOVE what I do as an author. Each book takes on a life of its own and in turn each one takes over a large slice of my life! All the best to you in 2007.