Scattered Thoughts

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Guest Post - Plot develops characters or Characters develop Plot? by Linze Brandon

*** BOOK  TOUR ***

It was time for the Lords of the High Council to step in when the Grandmaster of Kryane is accused of murdering his own people. They had little choice but to prevent the collapse of the whole magicians order, so they sent Michael to investigate the allegations.

The people of the desert planet were an enigma, but none more than Andesine, the healer assigned to assist Michael. Why did she report the Grandmaster? Was she involved, or was there something more sinister going on?

The more people they interrogated the more they suspected that nothing was as it seemed. Not the murders, nor the Grandmasters' motive as everyone thought.

Unable to resist the growing attraction between them, Michael and Andesine learn that they had to trust each other with their own secrets, and risking any future they might have.

Time and again the High Lords had to step in to prevent chaos on Kryane, but time was running out for Michael and Andesine. They had to get a new Grandmaster in place before the Kryane Order collapsed completely. And they had to find the who the true culprit was.

Fortunate to escape an attack from this monster once, they were risking the lives of many others in the process. Before the High Lords could formulate a plan, Michael and Andesine were captured, leaving the High Lords helpless to prevent it.

Kidnapped and imprisoned, Andesine was confronted with the realisation that if they were to survive their ordeal, it was up to her and her long suppressed powers. But as a healer she saved lives, would she be able to destroy the monster before he forces her to unleash her power to destroy the future of mankind?

Plot drives the characters or characters drive the plot?

There are a lot of arguments for and against the character driven plot, and all of these have their own merits. As a pantser, my characters and the story are interwoven with the exception that I don't want to know what the outcome of the story will be. As I have been writing for a while now, fifteen years to be exact, I have learned that being a true pantser can be waste of time. The most valuable lesson I have learned is that doing some planning is valuable even to a pantser.
Before I start to write a novel, I do character sketches for all my main characters. Not only their physical characteristics, likes and dislikes, but the important things I need for the story: what motivates them. Why they are reticent around strangers. Or why a guy decided not get involved in a serious relationship again. Or why the villain was driven to kill the Dragon Master in Keeper of the Dragon Sword.
Without conflict in a story, there is no story. So I need to know what will motivate my characters to do something, what will drive their choices and how I can use that to create the conflict in the story.
Setting is also a character and in my fantasy romance series it is essential to understand the setting and how it can contribute to the tension in the story.
In Michael's Mystery, the story takes place on Kryane, a desert planet. That in itself creates all kinds of opportunities for tension. People are dependent on water and in a desert I used that in a few scenes to develop the relationship between my main characters.
How the plot is driven by the characters depends on the genre. In a contemporary romance novel, the characters and their blooming relationship is the plot. In a murder mystery, it is the detective's desire for justice that drives the plot.
For mixed genre stories, the author can be more creative in determining the drive of the story, but characters and their motivation should always be a primary concern. Readers to cheer for the hero, despise the villain, or be kept in suspense as to the outcome of the choices the characters make.
Characters that face hard choices, and make decisions that may or may not have a good outcome, draw readers into the story to keep on reading to find out if they will triumph over adversity. Not all books have happy endings, but a reader wants to be satisfied with the ending. He or she wants to think that, 'yes, it was a good ending'.
There are only so many plot lines, and all of them have been done many times over. Coming up with a unique plot is not impossible, but readers don't relate to plot lines, they relate to the issues characters face.
True pantsers that capture the essence of good storytelling, interesting characters and intriguing plots are rare beasts indeed. The rest of us have to put in the hard work to make it happen.
The biggest argument against pantsing in favour of planning is the amount of editing required on the first draft. In my experience, that has proven to be true. It is one of the reasons for having well-developed characters before I even start to write. I may not know what their choices will be in every scene, but I know that their decisions will not be out of character.

About the Author:
Teaching herself to read before she went to school, it was the start of her life long love affair with books. Trained as an engineer, Linzé has worked as an export consultant and is presently a project manager. Although she still loves to read, she also enjoys counted stitch embroidery, archery, tai chi, fly fishing, painting, her husband's medal winning photographs and watching Manchester United play.

She counts both novels and short stories to her publishing credit. Her fourth novel, Waiting for Adrian, is planned for publication early in 2016. Her story, The Vernal Equinox, was a finalist in a sci-fi flash-fiction competition in 2015.

Linzé Brandon lives in Pretoria, South Africa, with her engineer husband and German Shepherds who are convinced that the world revolves only around them.

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1 comment:

Linzé Brandon said...

Thank you for your support of my book tour. In appreciation I have created an award that you can grab from this link - - to use on your blog. Thanks again! Linzé