Tag Archives: character

Character v Plot: A False Dichotomy

Cockburn's Eclectics

20141217_1 Mira John (CC / Flickr)

Spend any time around writers’ groups and there are certain conversations you can’t avoid having. Topping the list are debates over genre definitions, discussion of the comparative merits of traditional and self-publishing, and mystification about how certain authors have become wildly successful in spite of their poor writing. Up there with them is whether characters or plot are more important. In writing, as in life, it’s always worth being a little sceptical when something is presented as a dichotomy. It begs the question of whether it’s really a choice between one or the other. I’ve previously described characters and plot as two of the three legs of the tripod a story stands on, and I’m going to argue that the tripod needs both unless it wants to fall on its face.

Characters must shine

I’ll start by quoting Lee Child’s foreword to his debut…

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