February 27th, 2008
Character-Driven vs Plot-Driven Stories

Writerly Wednesday

A great source of confusion among many writers is the difference between a character-driven story and a plot-driven story. At first glance it may seem that stories where the characters are the central focus would be the character-driven story but that’s not necessarily the case.


It actually has to do with what makes the story move forward.

In a plot-driven story, the characters are reacting to the events of the story and wrapping around those events. The plot itself is in control and the characters have to cope with it and react to it. Apocolyptic stories tend to be plot driven stories. At the end of a plot-driven story, the characters will not have changed much, if at all.

In a character-driven story, the story moves forward because of the actions and desires of the characters. The characters control the direction of the story and the story can change because of the actions of the characters. Most romances tend to be character-driven stories. At the end of a character-driven story, the characters will have changed.

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