Which matters more… who your characters are, or what your characters do?
Last week, we discussed the elements of plot-driven and character-driven stories. The point was not to fully dissect every possible difference but to point out the main differences in intent behind each type of tale. We even acknowledged that several stories fall into a middle category where character and plot are given equal weight.
To break down the difference further, I’ve come up with my top 15 signs of a plot-driven story. There are exceptions to every rule, and I can poke holes in several (but not all) of the guidelines below.
15 Signs of a Plot-Driven Story
(psst… These are meant to be fun, so don’t get too bent out of shape over them.)
- Characters must, for any reason imaginable, solve their problems with a “dance-off”.
- If the protagonist fails, the WHOLE WORLD will fall apart!
- Jason Statham is the lead actor of the movie.
- You can’t remember the lead characters’ names after the story is done.
- The story genre is action, adventure, murder mystery, or horror.
- The story outline is a tidy list of events and not a rambling list of emotions.
- The movie cost $200 million to make.
- People want to create action figures based on the story.
- There are more fights to the death than there are major characters.
- The advertising includes the words “Action Packed!” (Don’t forget the exclamation point!)
- The character’s set of “powers” is more important than the character’s motivation.
- Your story has a chase scene.
- You feel compelled to use the word “epic” when describing the story.
- You can predict what will happen half-way through the story.
- The movie poster says, “Directed by Michael Bay.”
Do you know 15 signs of a character-driven story? Since I mostly read plot-driven tales, this list was fairly easy for me to come up with. I don’t read nearly enough character-driven stories to define the “ultimate” list. If you want to create a post on your blog with your top traits of a character-driven story, I’d be happy to link to it from here to keep our readers equally informed.
Have any more signs of a plot-driven story? Share in the comments below!
Image by Official Star Wars Blog