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Thread: Plot Driven vs Character Driven

  1. #16
    CEO of the Monsters Lugion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plot Driven vs Character Driven

    I can't really tell you if it is or not, since Oda claimed not terribly long ago that One Piece was only halfway over.

    Didn't he?

  2. #17
    Hex Mistress NoirGrimoir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plot Driven vs Character Driven

    I think he originally said it was going to be a lot shorter and then he changed his mind, but eh, you have to take into account that Oda makes up crazy answers for things on the spot just to troll people. O_O

    I think we are kind of off topic, though.

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  3. #18
    Clarion of Revelations Feliciano's Avatar Social Media Editor
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    Default Re: Plot Driven vs Character Driven

    I mostly divide the difference between plot-driven and character-driven stories like this.

    Plot-driven: As Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven stages" (As You Like It, II.vii.139-143). In plot-driven stories, the focus seems mainly to be on the world itself. Things happen, and the characters react to those things. However, in the grand scheme, the specific characters who react to the events don't matter as much. It's a very reactionary way of storytelling; the characters tend to be largely interchangeable with both one another and all the other inhabitants of the world in favor of making the world and events themselves very intricate and grand. It seems to be altogether more passive and often has a melancholy tone; after all, if the characters' actions are purely reactionary, then they have very little control over their own lives. However, if done well, this style of storytelling can result in some interesting and fairly deep character studies. I'd use the main Lord of the Rings trilogy as an example of how to properly write a plot-driven story.

    Character-driven: This is an extremely active style of storytelling, usually focusing on a smaller cast of characters who's actions directly impact what's going on around them. They react, but they also act. While this is a very strong method for engaging readers, it can often lead to rather weak worldbuilding, and the close-up nature of the storytelling will sometimes necessitate unwieldy exposition dumps that grind the action to a halt (while exposition dumps can be problematic in plot-driven stories too, I find that most of them have the freedom to do it in a much more indirect manner) while the character must be sat down and have all the information directly told to them. This manner of storytelling enables a much closer examination of one or a few characters, and has the potential to explore the effects of a small group on the world at large. In keeping with my last example, I'd use The Hobbit as an example of a properly-done character-driven story.
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  4. #19
    ^^ Safe-T's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plot Driven vs Character Driven

    @NoirGrimoir; Wow you guys went pretty off topic there, but there's still something...

    While you are right on the fact that Luffy doesn't have much -if any- character development throughout the story, I can still argue that it's character driven. Think about it, why did the story start? It was because of his personality; his complete lack of sense of authority. If it wasn't for that we wouldn't have had the straw hat pirates. On the other hand, while naruto does have "character development" the story is solely driven by plot devices and concepts. Look at this way, would the story have started if there was no Kyuubi, if the Uchiha clan hadn't had Sharingan? No, obviously. You can place anyone in there place and we'd have the same story.

    Character development (in my opinion) no matter how deep, doesn't necessarily imply a "Character Driven" story, because it's not about how the characters develop, but how they interact with the plot, are they the plot or are they the ones plotted against? I believe that a character driven story is one were the characters are making the choices, not the choices being justified for the sake of the plot. I think this is mainly why they're more enjoyable; they portray situations in which the character are the ones who affect themselves, as apposed to the author forcing situations on them.

    In the end, I think a story required both elements to be believable, because in life there are things in our control and others out of it.

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  5. #20
    Hex Mistress NoirGrimoir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plot Driven vs Character Driven

    @Lance. Hm, well I disagree, but truthfully these things aren't very cut-and-dry to begin with, so there's some room for interpretation.

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    Default Re: Plot Driven vs Character Driven

    I like the discussion here. I'm trying to merge both points in my Sturmkrieg Blitz fiction. I'm going to present my protagonists (heroes or villains? I'll let you read and decide!) with situations arising from the plot that deal with their character flaws. One is Kurasu's fear; she's about to enter the Elemental Sea, where she will encounter her old subjects. She abandoned them in fear of an invasion by the Dragunities. When Kurasu returned to save them, it turned out that the conjuration she used was the magical equivalent of a nuclear warhead. It killed the Dragunities and her subjects. The plot is going to force her to look her subjects in the eye and acquit herself for her actions.

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