Tag Archives: Plot driven

I get by with a little #help from my #friends..

and by friends, I mean books!

Every year I like to share the list of reference tools and books that keep me sane as a writer. Since I spend sosososososososos much time alone, writing and thinking about writing, I sometimes need tools to help me figure out plots, people, motivations, and dialogue subtexts. Here’s a list of my absolute favorites and the books that keep me sane when I’m trying to swim through the quagmire that is my imagination. Maybe if you haven’t finished making your Christmas and Holiday wish list yet, you’ll consider asking for one of these valuable tools. Believe me, it is money well spent and worth the cost.

1-4  The Emotional Thesaurus ( and amplifier) , The Postive Trait Thesaurus and the Negative Trait Thesaurus


5.Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon. This is like a bible to most writers!thes8

6.The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book. Little snippets, words, and descriptions to tweak your dialogue and writing


7. Master Lists. Every conceivable list you need for character, description, setting. Also fabulous as a reference when you play Trivial pursuit!


8. The title says it all. Rated Triple H for hothothot!


9.Nothing better for getting into the mind of your character and their inner conflicts and struggles


And if you’re looking for a great little romantic fiction read for yourself or as a Holiday gift, well, here’s my newest ( shameful plug) A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS 


When I’m not doing research I can usually be found in one ( or more!) of these places:

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Author Branding, branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Editors, Life challenges, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Are you driven by plot? And I don’t mean in the literal way…

Plot driven stories are just that: stories that are fundamentally about the…wait for it…Story.

The world is going to blow up unless the hero can save it and defeat the evil scientist. The largest diamond in the world has been stolen and the heroine needs to get it back. An island volcano in the Pacific Ocean is primed to blow and destroy half the world. Who or what can stop it? There’s a contagion on the rampage killing off half the world’s population.

All of these stories are plot driven. Something is going to happen ( or already has) and something needs to be done about it. There’s a lot of action, a lot of external maneuvering of the cast of characters, and hopefully a resolution of the problem in the end. There isn’t what you find in character driven stories – namely the deep internal conflicts, the emotional descriptions and the development of internal/external changes of the main characters.

The easiest way for me to remember the difference between character driven and plot driven stories is this way: In character driven stories, the people ( characters ) change. In plot driven stories the outcomes change, such as, potential earth destruction is now world peace.

Okay, that example was a little corny, but appropriate for this discussion.

In romance, plot driven books are usually the old standard lines, called tropes.  Tropes are  familiar or recurrent themes in stories.  For romances, some – but not all – include: Marriage of convenience, a surprise baby,  damsel in distress, opposites attract, love triangles. Writer Romy Sommer did a great piece on listing romance tropes in an article from 2012, that you can read by clicking on the link with her name. Suffice it to say that any  number of tropes can be categorized as being plot driven. So even in romance, plot can be the motivator for the story.

Before I wrote romance novels I wrote mystery and suspense. These books were totally plot driven. I would come up with the idea first and then get my characters to join in the fun.  I always had to keep the ultimate goal in the forefront of my brain, though,  because it was too easy to start slipping in the emotions and desires of the characters. I needed to save the world, not the individual characters! Once I made the switch to romantic fiction, I was able to do what I loved doing and wish I could have done with the other books: delve into the characters.

Plot drive books have a lot of action. They need to because SOMETHING needs to propel the book forward and keep you turning the pages. Action adventure movies are typically plot driven. Not a great deal of time or effort is put into developing the characters. Instead, the big money is spent on the special effects and the blowing up of things. By the way, I know that last sentence sounds a little snarky,but it’s not meant to be. I actually enjoy action adventure movies. I just don’t enjoy reading them as much as watching them.

So if you’re basically a plot driven writer, good for you!  Keep that action flowing, save the universe and defeat the bad guys.  Or, if you’re plot driven and you write romance, make that surprise baby REALLY a surprise – even to the mom! Save that damsel from the international jewel theft ring. Make those two opposite personalities have to marry to save the family business. Just don’t forget that the ultimate goal once you have written all that is for the happily ever after.


Filed under Characters