It’s my pleasure to welcome author N.R. Williams as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress today as she makes a stop on her virtual book tour.
N.R. “Nancy,” who is also a fellow blogger, has just released her novel, THE TREASURES OF CARMELIDRIUM. She visits today to talk about plot versus character-driven novels. Be sure to check the end of the post for guidelines because Nancy is giving away 3 e-books during her tour. Now Nancy’s thoughts on plot versus character.
I want to thank Mason for letting me visit all of you on my blog book tour for, “THE TREASURES OF CARMELIDRIUM.”
I remember the day that I began to think in terms of turning the stories that I crafted into actual books. That day, while I researched writing, I came across a book on “plot.” To me, that word meant nothing. I bought the book and as I read I realized yes, I did know what “plot” was, I just wasn’t used to saying the word “plot.”
Plot is a chain of cause-and-effect relationships that constantly create a pattern of unified action and behavior. 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald B. Tobias available on Amazon and elsewhere.
Why do we say “plot-driven,” or “character-driven?”
There are some books that are clearly “plot driven.” They tend to have shallow characters that move upon a stage of events that will lead them to the evitable conclusion. Thankfully, they are becoming rare, because without compelling characters, why do we care?
I’ve had numerous readers and authors at many events say to me. “I don’t like fantasy because it is plot-driven.” This is an inaccurate statement. Who can forget, Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien, or Frodo, to name only two? Aslan in the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis who represents God. Most recently, Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling. All these characters became very real to me and their journey mattered.
We identify with characters. If they are well crafted, we root for them. We strive to understand what motivates the villain so we can forgive him or even side with him. A good writer will endeavor to create multidimensional characters. In others words, deep.
Recently I came across a blog post written by Donald Maass at Writer Unboxed.
He said. A journey needn’t involve travel but it does enact a transformation. For a transformation to occur, two things are needed: outward events and inward change.
Great novels use both. Novelists talk all the time about their characters’ “journeys” but in manuscripts I rarely feel like I’ve taken one. Usually one part or the other is valued, but not both. In fact, so fundamental is this dichotomy that it’s embodied in two terms taken for granted in our business: A novel is said be either “plot-driven” or “character-driven”.
Why not both?
I must agree. In my high or epic fantasy, “THE TREASURES OF CARMELIDRIUM,” there is a lot at stake for my characters. Missie wants to go home, at the same time she is drawn to Gil-Lael with increasing force. Prince Healden (pronounced with a silent “a” like Hel-don), desires to protect Missie and more, but is also faced with a threat that could end his way of life and that of the people of Gil-Lael. The villain, Renwyk, believes he should rule the world. While that isn’t new, the method he uses is.
These characters are motivated by what matters to them. The “plot” drives them together with compelling force. I hope I have achieved what Donald Maass referred to. Why not both?
I will stop by all day to answer your questions. Thank you for reading.
N. R. Williams (Nancy)
Nancy, thank you for guest blogging today. It does take both plot and characters to make a story interesting and inviting.
Now a bit about Nancy. She lives in Colorado, U.S.A. with her husband. She is delighted to have two three-year-old grandchildren, cousins. She’s a long time member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and has been privileged to attend conferences and workshops. Since her formative years, she’s been inventing fantastical stories and since she could spell she’s been writing them down. While she majored in art in college, she didn’t make a living at it. Now, she uses her skills of observation to create fantastical worlds, interesting characters and stories that touch the heart.
Now about the giveaway. Nancy is giving 3 e-books, to 3 winners who leave their e-mail along with their comment during her tour. The drawing will be held on Feb. 1 and will be posted on Nancy’s blog, N.R Williams, Fantasy Author.. She will also be e-mailing the winners. Winners will have a choice between kindle, iBookstore or Barnes and Nobles for the e-book. One book per winner.
THE TREASURES OF CARMELIDRIUM is available for $2.99 until July 1, when it will increase to $3.99. In the UK, the book is available for 2.23 pd sterling and will go up to 3.23.
Nancy continues her tour Monday, Jan. 24, when she visits Helen Ginger at Straight from Hel to discuss “Character Driven vs World Driven in Fantasy & Sci Fi.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 25, she’ll visit Dominic de Mattos at Writes of Passage where she will be playing the “What If” Game.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 26, she visits Clarissa Draper at Listen To The Voices to discuss “What inspired me to write about music as a power and why the flute.”
On Thursday, Jan. 27, she visits with Denise at L’Aussie Writing to talk about “What Elements are in the Story? (Romance, Suspense, Mystery?)”
On Friday, Jan. 28, she’ll visit Jeffrey Beesler at Jeffrey Beesler’s World of the Scribe to talk about “Why I Write Fantasy.”
On Monday, Jan. 31, she’ll make her last stop talking with Sherry Wachter who writes as Bodie Parkhurst at Magic Dog Press. She’ll talk about “Why You Should Hire an Editor & Professional Illustrator.” BTW, Sherry illustrated her book.
Be sure to leave your e-mail in your comments for a chance to win one of 3 e-books. What are your thoughts on plot versus character-driven novels?