21 comments on “What Came First: The Character or the Plot?

  1. Like you, I’m normally plot first, characters afterwards, but the most successful piece of writing I’ve ever completed came to me almost effortlessly after a full-blooded character just walked into my head one day. I’m hoping it happens again soon. πŸ™‚

    • That’s really interesting! It was exciting to get an idea in a completely new way and I’m curious to see what ends up coming of this character.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts πŸ™‚

  2. I flip flop. Sometimes I tell a story because a situation intrigues me and I write characters to fit it. Other times, I come up with a character I enjoy and then I throw them into trouble to see what happens. πŸ™‚

  3. This time I created characters first, and I fell in love with them right away. Problem was, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them. Using the same backdrop from the last novel, I found a place for them and plotted from there. But, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do this every time. It was touch and go with these awesome people until I pulled it together.

  4. I’m a little all over the place. Sometimes, I picture the plot first, like you said. Sometimes, it’s the character(s). I do love character-based ideas, though, because there’s so much there to work with even though it’s encapsulated in this one little person…

  5. I like to interweave character and plot development so much that it’s nearly equally balanced when it comes to what sparks first. Sometimes, I save specific characters for unwritten roles in unforeseen plots at a later date. Usually, when I am hit unexpectedly by something, it’s actually a scene with (an) unexplored character(s), shallowly developed plot, and a general sense of emotion. Then, I expand from that scene to build the rest.

  6. Interestingly thought out, Callum. Character always seems to stir me at first, followed by a need to bring him (seldom her) alive in a realistic life situation, so the plot follows.

  7. I think I usually come up with plots first. And then my characters get formed around whatever name I pick. The name always helps me build the character’s traits for some reason. I hope you find a good place to use this character you’re building.

  8. It’s almost always the character for me. It’s exciting, isn’t it, letting someone take shape inside your head and building a world for them to exist in. I absolutely love it. There are times when the plot comes almost instantaneously, because the character is so vivid everything else falls into place. I think the only time the plot comes first is if I’m following a prompt and even then I usually hand over the reins to those taking up residence in my head!

    • It was really interesting to approach things from a different angle than usual and like you say, it’s fun to try and piece together a whole world based on one character; digging into their mind so we can see what stories they have to tell πŸ™‚

  9. It’s an interesting thought, sometimes characters come to me and I just know I have to do something with them πŸ˜€

    Other times, I have a great plot, and have to find the characters to fit with it.

    I like to wonder if coming up with plot or character first makes a difference to the way the story turns out.

    Great post!

    • That’s cool that you write using both methods. This was the first time a character came to me first so it was interesting to approach things from a new angle for a change πŸ™‚

      Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  10. Oddly I had the idea of the characters first. But since then I have had a hard time understanding them really and they’ve been changing a lot. But the plot came pretty easily right after characters and it has changed, but not as much..

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