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Monday, 24 October 2011

Character or Plot?

I just caught the last episode of this, but some of you may be able to catch it on BBC iplayer
Stephen Fry makes some great comments and talks to many awe inspiring experts
in the field of English Literature.

My favourite quote from this episode is when he says: ' What distinguishes Shakespeare from all his colleagues, aside from his prodigious output, was his concentration on character often at the expense of plot, which he was content to lift from others'.
It is certainly the characters that hold my interest first and foremost, but naturally if a plot is fairly simplistic and linear it makes for a rather limited story line that fails to stand the test of many re-reads or viewings.

Apparently, Stephen King bases all his characters good and bad on himself!

Which of these do you concentrate on:

Your characters and their agendas?

or the story line?

Our satellite dish lost a piece in the gales last night. We heard it drop and roll down the roof as we sat chatting in the conservatory, but we know not what or where the piece has gone. It is raining heavily today, so no sign of our friendly TV repairman who has slight vertigo problems!

Nano? No, I've decided not to participate this year. I wanted to say thanks to everyone who gave me the benefit of their own experiences with the process and I did toy with the idea of taking part, but have decided that I must concentrate on my research and reading this year and plan possibly to have a go next year.


  1. I like to think I focus on the characters, especially dialogue. I love dialogue. :)

  2. Intriguing idea. For me, I try to make my stories about the characters. The plot is based around them and the things they need to go through in order to grow and change.

  3. It depends what I think of first. If I discover a character then I might build the plot around her, but if I think of a plot then I'll try and think of characters to fit.

  4. Character first, then the plot. Always. I can forgive a less than stellar plot but if the characters don't interest me right from the start, the story doesn't matter.

  5. My books started out as plot-driven. But the characters have developed and grown powerful over time. They compete with the plot and with each other for face time with the reader.

  6. I'm highly character-driven, so are my stories. But the story must hold up too!

  7. I'm a character person too. I like putting them in tough positions and seeing how they get out of them based on their personalities.

    Love Stephen Fry too. I'll have to see if I can dig up that video somewhere. :)

  8. Oh noes!! I hope you get you satellite all fixed up asap!!

    Oooh characters for me - but it's not good (for me - cos I ain't no Shakespeare! LOL!) - the plot has to be strong for my characters to shine and I'm thoroughly weak at plotting!

    Take care

  9. I used to concentrate most on plot. I've been working on that ...

    Oh dear, on the TV. The TV repairman might be in the wrong profession then, huh? I'd think it would require getting up on a lot of roofs.

  10. All my stories start with characters, sometimes to the point where I struggle with plot.

    I think we'd die a slow death without our satellite...me only because it occupies the family while I write :)

  11. The stage version of QI with Stephen Fry (and Alan Davies and local luminaries) is in town this week. Off to see it on Friday. Be interesting to see how it is transposed from TV to stage. I'm hoping for a chorus line of dancing girls.

  12. I love Stephen Fry!

    I probably concentrate more on my characters. I try to come up with a good plot but I often spend too much time letting my characters ramble, go off on tangents, etc.

  13. I always look out for powerful characters in any book I read. A great character can distinguish one book from the other.


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