Plot and character development at same time?

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Avatar of joe venezia
joe venezia on August 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Alright so i’m taking on the biggest project i have ever done. It will be a massive step up from the normal comedy shorts i make. and with never taking on a “real” project before i’m not use to really making and developing a plot that can weave character development in it at the same time. it seems to be that whenever i write something it’s far too scatterbrained for anyone to even understand! My knowledge on story writing is none to zero so any tips would be appreciated!

Avatar of Caleb Davies
Caleb Davies on August 11, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Something to keep in mind is that these two don’t actually have to be separate, but together! (Power Rangers go!) But essentially, character development is:
-showing your character’s personality and preferences
-revealing how they think and why they do things
Plot development is showing events that actually tie in with your main story. I think it should be no problem to tie in character development. Unless you’re talking about a character who isn’t actually participating in the story events, which makes it slightly more complicated. You’re going to have to mention the character in question, so I guess you could show their reactions to events, or they could be indirectly mentioned in the scene (i.e. rumors, newspapers, repercussions of past actions). Main characters actually participating in the story should be able to react to certain events, and you can even orchestrate certain events to coincide with revealing certain aspects of your character and furthering the story. Hope that helps!

Avatar of O'Ryan McEntire
O'Ryan McEntire on August 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm

There are a few schools of thought on this subject. One states that you should first develop a plot and then create characters to support said plot.

The other is to craft your characters and then build a plot around them to showcase them.

I like a mixture of both, personally. Sometimes I will come up with a cool plot and characters begin to show themselves as I am brainstorming. Sometimes I envision a great character with some emotional weight and then the story around him/her begins to develop.

Regardless of how you decide to begin you need to make sure your plot and characters support each other in believable and interesting ways.

Sometimes taking your characters and putting them in different situations and imagining how they would react can help you define them and the situations they may need for specific character developments. Then sometimes taking your plot and creating a scenario within it and deciding what the individuals involved need to do to further the situation in a direction that is interesting.

The most important thing here is to make sure what ever is happening is supporting your story’s end point. What do you want your audience to walk away with?

Avatar of Andy Ainsworth
Andy Ainsworth on August 13, 2012 at 2:55 am

I don’t know if you’ve read some of the blog posts I’ve written on this subject, but if not, take a gander – they may help.

Character development – http://filmpunch.org/blog/crafting-characters/

Deeper character analysis – http://filmpunch.org/blog/the-good-guy/

And also, check out my “Champion Series” (http://filmpunch.org/blog/modus-operandi/) under which there are 2 out of 13 parts posted already. Each post deals with a different shape of fiction – stuff that’s gonna help you integrate your characters into any story that your scatterbrained mind can come up with. Best of luck.

If you have any specific questions with examples from your work, I may be of more use.

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