Character Driven vs Plot Driven

Well, today I managed to write again. Not a lot, but I’m getting back on track with Broken Bonds. For a while there I was thinking that maybe this isn’t my story to tell. It certainly doesn’t seem to flow the way Sanchin did.

Something occurred to me while I was out running today. I think it’s not flowing because I’m out of my comfort zone. When I wrote Sanchin there was very little research involved. I knew my subject. I’ve hung around enough dojos and with enough martial artists to happily write martial arts based fiction for the rest of my writing career. I’ve trained with people just like Tristan, Dean, Gavin and Jason. I went to school with kids like Rico, Megan and Andre.

With Broken Bonds it’s different. I know the story already. I have an outline plot worked out and I know who did what. All of the big mysteries are solved right from the beginning.

The trouble is, I’m not inside my character’s heads yet. I don’t know anyone like Rudy. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be desperate enough to fly partway round the world to find out the truth behind a letter.

With Sanchin I honestly had no idea where the story was going until it got there. The characters simply got on with their lives and the story flowed onto the page. They drove the plot.

With Broken Bonds the plot is there already, but now I have to create the characters to fit into that plot. I’m not sure I can write this way. A challenge is always good, but not if it is at the expense of the novel. I strongly suspect this story might change quite a bit as I go along.

I’m already starting to feel a tug in another direction. My original story seems too out of character for who I feel Rudy is. Maybe I’ll give him his head and see where the plot goes from there. It will certainly be interesting to see how the story differs from my original outline.

It will also be interesting to see if I manage to discipline my self to write more regularly. I’ll see how the writing goes tonight.