I’m a pantser, which means I write as things pop into my head, rather than plotting everything out in an outline ahead of time. Usually, a character will start talking to me and if I’m smart, I’ll write down what he or she says immediately. If I don’t, either the conversation disappears or continues to scroll through my brain until I finally do write it down (think of a song that gets stuck in your head and you’ll get the idea). All of this means that most of the stories I write are character driven.
However, the current stories I’m writing are plot driven. Yes, I said “stories.” Because right now, I’m in the process of writing three of them. At the same time. If this continues, I may have to become a plotter—I don’t think I can keep three stories straight in my head at the same time. But I digress.
The three stories I’m currently writing are plot driven currently, because what popped into my head were scenes involving something happening.
In the first story, the meeting of the hero and the heroine was the first scene that popped into my head. She’s having a battle with a lawn mower and he comes and helps her conquer it. Just in case you think that he spends the entire book rescuing her, don’t worry. He doesn’t. The next scene that I’ve written, which actually won’t take place until much later in the story, is the hero waking from a nightmare and the heroine comforting him. The inspiration for this story comes from an old house I recently saw. I started wondering about who had lived there during its 140-year-history and have come up with a story about the most modern of the inhabitants.
In the second story, I’m moving onto book two in my Jewish romance series and this story revolves around the story of Passover. It’s not fully fleshed out and I only have one scene—again, a middle scene—the hero is working through an issue and the heroine is helping him. But it is plot driven because the story will revolve around the theme of freedom. Everything that happens to my characters will relate back to that theme in some way or another.
Finally, in my third story, I’m moving into totally different territory. It’s an experiment. The story is based on a mystery in my family that I’ve pieced together involving immigration, infidelity and mysterious family relationships. It’s not a true story, because I have no way of verifying any of the facts anymore—all the people directly involved are long dead. But it’s a “what if” scenario that I’ve been dying to write and hopefully, with a lot of research, I’ll be able to do it.
So tell me, are your stories character or plot driven or both?