Somewhere in my travels through the bloggy universe, I read a five star review of a book titled Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction by Jeff Gerke. Since I love books on craft and can’t resist anything with great fiction in the title, I picked up a copy. Of course it ended up on a books to be read shelf, but, since I wasn’t absorbing its information by simply sharing office space with it, I recently read the thing--and I loved it.
Mr. Gerke maintains that there are two types of novelists. Those for whom plot comes naturally and those for whom characters come naturally. Frankly, I don’t think I fit into either category, but whatever. The point is this: the plotter must find “the plot of the main character’s change,” while the character-inspired novelist must build plot by “finding the story within the main character.” Either way, the main character’s layers and inner journey is the spine of the novel.
The book is divided into sections: “Memorable Characters” followed by “Marvelous Plots,” and a final section that discusses the union of plot and characters. Within these sections there are diagrams, examples, suggestions, tricks, and tips. For example, Mr. Gerke recommends that writers read a book on psychology and temperament titled Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey. I am halfway through this fascinating book on personality types and I’ve just about worn out my highlighter. There’s no doubt that the information in this book will help me to develop deep, layered characters with substance.
So, if you’re up for an interesting read on developing multi-layered characters with riveting inner journeys capable of fueling a three act story structure, grab a copy of Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction. It’s worth the read.
Or have you read it? If so, what did you think about it? Have you read Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey?
Have you read any other good books on craft lately?