Character or plot?

I’m a plotter, I can admit that fully. I like my little road map laid out before I begin writing, even though I know full well that at the end, the book probably won’t look much like my initial outline.

That’s because as I write, my characters take on their own personalities and decide from there on out where they’re damn well going to go.

But being a plotter, I still need to know quite a bit about my characters before I can start that initial outline.

I recently sat down to plot book 5 in my Heart of a Vampire series. I wrote two pages of outline before my heart sank and I showed it to Wicked.

She laughed.

My characters were wimps and the story was going nowhere.

Which is when I finally realized I didn’t know nearly enough about my characters to even begin plotting.


So, my Q4U: Writers – how well do you need to know your characters before you begin to write?

Readers – Are you drawn to books with more action oriented plots, or by great characters (or both)?

About Amber Kallyn

Amber Kallyn is the author of paranormal erotic romances and urban fantasy.

Posted on March 18, 2013, in Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I prefer books with great characters. Once the guy who the hero of “Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny” is based on accused me of being nosy. He’s wrong–LOL, but I do like to get to know my characters first before I start plotting. And I had to chuckle at your title, “Red’s Wolf.” I made of a fake team instead of the Cincinnati Reds, and called them the Cincinnati Red Wolves.

  2. I require both – entertain me with people. It took me 8 months to write the outline for my novel, and the plot ended up growing into this big plug with mini/many plot shoots.

  3. My characters define themselves as we move along in the writing process. It’s like at first they’re acquaintances and then we become friends with me getting to know more about them as I write. I’m a pantser.

  4. Hi Nancy,
    That’s funny. We can sometimes come across a nosy (to some) but we’re just trying to learn about people. And #go Cincinati Red Wolves 😉

  5. Hey R,
    I tend to agree. I love reading about people, and how they deal with the things thrown at them. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hi Nana,
    I’m 100% there. I may be a plotter, but it still take the writing of the story to get to know my characters 🙂

  7. Amber — the Red Wolves never lose. LOL~ The guy who thought I was nosy thought I was listening to the conversation he was having on his cell phone. I wasn’t! That’s my story and I’m sticking with it! LOL.

  8. Nancy,
    LOL. Love it 🙂

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