Plot vs Character In “Friend” Stories

Shutterstock / Ed Samuel © stories

For our writers out there, I want to highlight the differences between plot-driven and character-driven storylines.

I will also highlight what the “Friend” prefers in terms of its story and serial content.

Hopefully this will help the next time you’re sitting down at your computer, ready to create something for us!

Plot-driven stories

A story that places emphasis on plot will have multiple and, often, intricate storylines.

The characters are important, but the unfolding of events will be the main focus throughout the story. This will dictate the development of the characters.

Examples of plot-driven stories include the “Harry Potter” series, and mystery reads from such exponents as Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier.

Character-driven stories

This is where characters take centre stage, their actions and emotions driving the story forward.

The story will have a plot, but this will be moulded around one or two set characters and their story goals.

The characters’ backgrounds and viewpoints are key throughout the story. The writer wants their reader to embrace the protagonist amid the ups and downs of the story.

Examples of this kind of story include classics like “Jane Eyre” and “To Kill A Mocking Bird”.

“Friend” stories

Our stories are essentially character-driven.

As our guidelines state: “Our readers like people – they like to see something good coming out of a situation, or the redeeming side of a character”.

That’s not to say we don’t have stories with compelling plots. But they will also have believable, everyday characters the reader is happy to invest in.

This is nowhere more evident than in our serials, where the reader will be following the same characters for anything up to eight instalments.

The serial might be about a city business on the brink of ruin, or hardship amid a farm location, but it will be the characters the reader cares about the most.

Whether the characters achieve their goals or not isn’t as important to the reader as the story journey itself.

For more writing advice from “The People’s Friend”, click here.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.