Alright, by now you should have a setting, characters, and a theme put together.  By now these should have planted a good seed for a plot in your mind.  However, a seed for a plot and an actual plot are two very different things.  So, the next step is figuring out who does what to whom and when.  There are two general ways to go about building a plot – character driven plots and world driven plots.  Glen Cook’s The Black Company is a good example of a character driven story.  The plot moves around the actions of the characters, and how they grow through those actions and the results.  Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen is a good example of a world driven story.  While the characters are important, they are caught up in events that move far beyond the characters themselves, and the plot is driven by these events, rather than by the actions of the characters.

So in building your plot the first thing that you have to do is decide whether your plot is going to be driven by your characters, leaving broad world events in the background, or driven by events in the world, and in turn driving the actions of your characters.  Once you’ve made this decision you can begin to build a story.  If your plot is character driven, then you need to sit down and determine how each character will change and grow over the course of the story, and how this should affect the narrative itself.  If your plot is world driven then you need to determine what the major events shaping the story are, how they need to progress, and where your characters fit into those events.

In my experience character driven stories tend to be easier to write, and might be a better starting point for new writers.  In next weeks plot challenge we will begin building the specifics of your plot.

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