Creating a Character-centric Plot

by Samantha Gerthe, Age 17, USA

 

Plot can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like it to be. Personally, I’m a fan of one particular type of plot: Who am I? or the “character-centric” plot.

I prefer to look at all stories this way because the heart of every story consists of character growth. Look at Frodo or Harry Potter. They grow and evolve. Intra-personal conflict often leads to the strongest plot, because we can relate. We’ve been stuck with our own One Ring or battled our own Voldemorts. While the characters and events may not be necessarily relatable, the emotional journey is.

How to Write a Character-centric Plot

The easiest way to begin developing your plot is to take a look at your conflict. What’s the main problem?

The next thing to look at is why your character cares. How does the main problem affect your character, and what can he or she do about it?

But, why should your character care? What happens if they don’t take action? There must be negative consequences if the main problem is allowed to persist, so your character must take action.

So, now that your character knows what they have to do and why, how do they get there? What do they have to do in order to fix the problem?

Next, make your character take action. How do they solve the problem, and what happens because of their actions? If your character will succeed, they must sacrifice something in order to win.

And, finally, the end. How does your character react to the consequences of their action? Did they lose a lot? What does your character do in response to what’s lost? Your character may vow revenge. They may curl up in a ball and cry. They will do something, and it will be the final touch to your plot.

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Samantha Gerthe is a 17 year old author from the USA. She has won awards through Scholastic and has been recognized for her work through the Editor’s Choice Award with Team Ink. She has written a novel and is currently working on the sequel. Read Samantha’s blog.

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