When writing a short story do you develop the characters first or the plot?

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  1. nataliemarie71 profile image60
    nataliemarie71posted 10 years ago

    When writing a short story do you develop the characters first or the plot?

  2. profile image0
    cyekin_37posted 10 years ago

    When I do write a short story, I tend to develop what is going to happen, then I create the characters that fit the part I'd want them to play in the story smile

    It all tends to flow well after everything falls into place. The fun part is to name the characters you've created tongue

  3. foumenlj profile image60
    foumenljposted 10 years ago

    Interesting question. I think it depends of several factors. I'll briefly focus on the plot at first but I'll make sure that I develop the characters in the same time.

  4. AdeleCosgroveBray profile image96
    AdeleCosgroveBrayposted 10 years ago

    There's no right and wrong way to approach this - each wrtier has to experiment (by writing regularly) to discover what works for them.

    With me, any story can be inspired by a character or a plot idea, or even a mood or some snippet of convesation I've overheard.

  5. MickS profile image66
    MickSposted 10 years ago

    A short story really only needs one in depth character, maybe a sidekick as well, slightly less rounded, any other characters, and there shouldn't be many, are only there to carry the story along, they don't need much work.
    You can have a great character pop into your head and you work out a story to fit the character.  Or it can work out the other way, a great plot, and think, mmm, now, who is going to tell that story, it doesn't really matter which way you proceed.

  6. yoshi97 profile image65
    yoshi97posted 10 years ago

    This is a difficult question, as I do a little bit of both. Allow me to explain ...

    Sometimes I come up with an interesting character and hold onto them until I find a plot they can partake in, but more often than not it's the plot that comes first.

    The best answer to this question is that the plot should come first, as it is far more difficult to write a plot around a character than it is to write a character around a plot. The exception to this rule is a continuing series, as the character is then already developed and the new plot is created to draw upon the strengths and weaknesses of this character,

    Once you have your plot drawn up you will need a main character ... a hero of types, so to speak. To make your story read well, your character needs strengths and weaknesses that will make their task difficult - but not impossible.

    Remember ... every character has strengths and weaknesses, just like us, and those need to weave into the plot in such a way that the story often establishes the character through his or her needs.

    Again, you can develop the character first, but be prepared for a bumpy ride as it's a lot of work to revolve a story around a character. And yet, J.K Rowling does this aptly well in the Harry Potter series. However, in the first book of the series, the plot created Harry.

    So my answer to you is to create your plot and then when you finish that ... create a character that your plot will challenge until the end.

    I hope that helps. smile

  7. wingedcentaur profile image80
    wingedcentaurposted 10 years ago

    Good Day nataliemarie71

    My approach is to try to establish rhythm, the flow of words. I tend to view any work of fiction I approach as an ocean from which all "life" of a particular narrative will spring. You know how all life sprang from the sea?

    This is the approach I have found "works" for me. I used to struggle of questions just like the one you posed. But this is why it is so important to be a prolific reader, to be successful as a fiction writer. By reading you learn, you begin to figure out the methods and techniques that you like and don't like.

    I am inspired, stylistically, by John Grisham, Mario Puzo (he is the most elegant stylist), Elmore Leonard, Philip K. Dick, Richard Wright, and Philip Roth. Armed with this, I tend to just sit down in front of the computer and start typing and see what comes up.

    I find that whatever I write quickly is always better than anything I take too much time with, second guessing myself, and all the rest of it. I don't use outlines or anything like that. I'm not saying outlines aren't helpful. It depends on the individual.

    My approach is to say: If I struggle to write it, you, the reader, will struggle to read it. Personally, I can forgive a lot if the writer is a good prose stylist. I am tempted to say that good style actually negates the possibility of certain weaknesses arise.

    Anyway, for me, its not a question of 'characters' or 'plot' first. I just start with an idea.

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