Terrific Tuesdays

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Some years back, my sister and I used to meet up once a week for a day of shopping, with breakfast and lunch sandwiched in-between. Those “Terrific Tuesdays” were great.

We maintained the habit over the course of several years. However, our lives got busy with jobs, families, and masters’ programs, so we changed our ritual to once a month. It wasn’t long until it became two or three times a year and then, finally, we abandoned any hope of maintaining a regular schedule.

I know you can relate.

I should have hung onto those days like gold. We should have found a way…

So, just how does that relate to writing?

Well, let’s say that I have my writing calendar all filled out, appropriating 4-6 hours of writing  to each day of the week.

But, then the holidays come along and I’m torn between writing and meeting a friend for coffee and catching up on old times. Or, on a trip to visit Grandma for Christmas, I feel compelled to sneak up to the guest room and hammer out the plot for my next book while my kids remain downstairs helping to decorate the tree.

The truth is, there’s just no other way to create memories unless you’ve been there in the first place.

In the long run, whether our book comes out in March or May will not really matter. But, our interactions with others—our relationships—will grow, or they will die on the vine, depending on how much we cultivate them.

Take time to nurture yourself and others without guilt over meeting your writing goals.

I know there are very talented authors who will tell you to write everyday no matter what. I used to believe that. And, it led to a lot of heartache.

This year, I’m giving myself permission to take part in the celebration of the season, to laugh, to foster relationships, to turn off my computer and shut my office door.

No, this year I won’t be writing during the week of Christmas.

Instead, I will be making memories that will last a lifetime.

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Character-driven vs. Plot-driven

 

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Someone commented to me that she felt my books are mainly character-driven. I agreed, but vowed to do some investigating on the age-old controversy: Character-driven vs. plot driven. Is there a clear winner?

Here’s what I found:

Character-driven writing focuses on the inner conflict of the characters that you’ve created—their attitudes, decisions, and how they, in turn, change the shape of the plot and the story as a whole. Character driven is often referred to as “literary fiction” since it features characters that possess multiple layers that are exposed as the story develops.

The emphasis is on characterization, inner conflict and relationships. The story often depicts the character’s inner struggle to resolve issues from their past, such as overcoming grief, learning to live again, mending broken relationships.

Plot-driven stories place a larger emphasis on the actual plot itself. Factors such as plot twists, action and external conflict are what make up the focus of this style of writing.

Often the story goals are more external such as obtaining, winning, escaping, or changing a situation. Defeating the bad guy, catching a murderer, solving a mystery are some examples.

A good story will certainly have some of both, but there is almost always a heavier focus on one over the other.

Take a look at your own writing. Is it character or plot-driven?

A fun exercise is to rewrite a page. Make it more character-driven, if you write plot-driven. Change it from character driven to plot-driven, if that is not what you would normally write.

You may find that adding just a little more of your “non-preferred” style to your writing may give it more depth, richness, and excitement.

And that’s the clear winner.