Plot Versus Character

Book Cover, plot versus character. It a photo where a mother and daughter have been cut out of a domestic scene where the father is grilling next to a camper.

Plot Versus Character: A Balanced approach to Writing Great Fiction, by Jeff Gerke

This is a case where, the writing is simple to the point of basic, and the author, or author’s voice, truly annoys me, but there is still some wonderfully valuable information. Primarily, that both matter, and a novel that neglects one of these areas will really suffer.

Just understand that you’ll have to sift through gems like, “Humans are Religious” and “Get Wacky!” Yes, with an exclamation point. Indeed.

The greatest value for me, was how he learned to transform his boring, flatly written characters, into believable people.

As an introvert, I feel like I need some major insights into human behavior, and was relieved to come across this information.  The author discusses a psychology book, Please Understand Me ll, by David Keirsey. This book uses Myers-Briggs personality profiles / temperament classifications (of which there are 16) to establish a base layer, and then recommends layering more specific and topical traits upon this core.

Interesting. Specific, reality-based, and actionable. This provides a solid foundation, and removes a bit of anxiety. The author references 2 other books,  45 Master Characters, by Victoria Schmidt, and The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Linda Edelstein, PhD.

Next, there’s a misguided chapter on writing confusing dialogue. I understand where he’s going —don’t be literal— but he way overshoots. Then, some advice about how your protagonist should both be likeable, and have a problem to solve.

Which brings us to the part of the book, where I stopped reading the book.

Wacky!

Need this book? Your options include;

You can preview it via Overdrive or Libby, ask your Librarian if your Library has access to these apps, and how they work.  If you decide it’s a keeper:

You may find it at a used book store: Books-A-Million, Powell’s, Thirftbooks, or The Strand.

If You have a great indy bookstore near you, please support them.

or, You can buy it via Amazon

Book Cover, plot versus character. It a photo where a mother and daughter have been cut out of a domestic scene where the father is grilling next to a camper.

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