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Here is a story that has origins in the 17th century that will serve as an example to clarify the meaning of CHARACTER-BASED STORY.

--LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD wants to take basket of goodies to. Grandma’s house has a long walk through dark woods to another village.. “Be careful,” Red’s mother said. “Go straight on the path and do not talk to strangers!” But Little Red goes into the woods and meets a wolf who is eager to devour her can’t because there is a woodsman nearby. Red chats him up and the wolf asks her where she’s going tells tells all about her journey. The wolf runs off and Red continues leaving the path to chase butterflies and pick bluebells. When Little Red arrives at Grandma’s, he the wolf has devoured Grandma and dresses in her nightgown. Unsuspecting, Red gets in bed with the disguised wolf and he devours her.

This story carries at least three SIGNIFICANT MESSAGES. (1) listen to your parents. (2) innocence and naïveté can kill you (i.e. don’t hold onto your childhood--grow up!). (3) never trust a stranger. The wolf metaphor for a child predator is also effective. But note the significance of the story is mainly carried by the narrative story structure. Little Red is a CHARACTER- BASED story. The plot moves forward because of Red’s human characteristics — especially her human faults: she holds onto her childhood innocence, she disobeys her mother, and she to be wary of strangers.

This story could be framed without Red's flaws. It could still be interesting, but it might not be as lasting. Here is a possibility.

--Red Riding Hood is kidnapped from the woods near her house. A few hours later some bones and scraps of skin are found at her grandmother’s house a mile away. The police are called and discover from the gray hairs trapped in grandma’s hand-woven throw rug that the wolf did it. The wolf escapes. Red’s mother grieves.

This version is a statement of happenings. Red is a part of the plot, but she is not driving the plot with all her mistakes in the first version.

Here’s an action-adventure story. Something like this.

-Red heads for Grandma’s house. In the deep dark forest she meets a woodsman who is tracking a wolf that has eaten two children in the last two weeks. Red wants to help and agrees to be a decoy. The wolf takes the bait, and forces Red to tell about her journey. Then he attacks Red; she stabs him with a knife the woodsman has given her. Still, the crafty wolf escapes and the woodsman follows the trail of blood and wolf hair to confront the wolf at Grandma’s house. The wolf wounds the woodsman in a life-threatening duel but is killed by the woodsman’s persistence. Red falls in love.

In this story, again, all that happens in the plot is fatalistic. What Red says, thinks, or wants--or who she really is--would be irrelevant to the story. Red’s strengths and flaws are absent.

For a writer of fiction stories, character-based plots can add unique energy and meaning, enhance characterization, and engage the reader’s interest. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

LEARN MORE here:. http://storyinliteraryfiction.com/…/…
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Posted 18 hours ago

Here is a story that has origins in the 17th century that will serve as an example to clarify the meaning of CHARACTER-BASED STORY.

--LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD wants to take basket of goodies to. Grandma’s house has a long walk through dark woods to another village.. “Be careful,” Red’s mother said. “Go straight on the path and do not talk to strangers!” But Little Red goes into the woods and meets a wolf who is eager to devour her can’t because there is a woodsman nearby. Red chats him up and the wolf asks her where she’s going tells tells all about her journey. The wolf runs off and Red continues leaving the path to chase butterflies and pick bluebells. When Little Red arrives at Grandma’s, he the wolf has devoured Grandma and dresses in her nightgown. Unsuspecting, Red gets in bed with the disguised wolf and he devours her.

This story carries at least three SIGNIFICANT MESSAGES. (1) listen to your parents. (2) innocence and naïveté can kill you (i.e. don’t hold onto your childhood--grow up!). (3) never trust a stranger. The wolf metaphor for a child predator is also effective. But note the significance of the story is mainly carried by the narrative story structure. Little Red is a CHARACTER- BASED story. The plot moves forward because of Red’s human characteristics — especially her human faults: she holds onto her childhood innocence, she disobeys her mother, and she to be wary of strangers.

This story could be framed without Reds flaws. It could still be interesting, but it might not be as lasting. Here is a possibility.

--Red Riding Hood is kidnapped from the woods near her house. A few hours later some bones and scraps of skin are found at her grandmother’s house a mile away. The police are called and discover from the gray hairs trapped in grandma’s hand-woven throw rug that the wolf did it. The wolf escapes. Red’s mother grieves.
 
This version is a statement of happenings. Red is a part of the plot, but she is not driving the plot with all her mistakes in the first version. 

Here’s an action-adventure story. Something like this.

-Red heads for Grandma’s house. In the deep dark forest she meets a woodsman who is tracking a wolf that has eaten two children in the last two weeks. Red wants to help and agrees to be a decoy. The wolf takes the bait, and forces Red to tell about her journey.  Then he attacks Red; she stabs him with a knife the woodsman has given her. Still, the crafty wolf escapes and the woodsman follows the trail of blood and wolf hair to confront the wolf at Grandma’s house. The wolf wounds the woodsman in a life-threatening duel but is killed by the woodsman’s persistence. Red falls in love.

In this story, again, all that happens in the plot is fatalistic. What Red says, thinks, or wants--or who she really is--would be irrelevant to the story.  Red’s strengths and flaws are absent.

For a writer of fiction stories, character-based plots can add unique energy and meaning, enhance characterization, and engage the reader’s interest.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?

LEARN MORE here:. http://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com/…/what-exactly-is-ch…/

Jo Anne Du Bose, Wanda Mital Luthman and 12 others like this

Trey Allan KnarrI think a lot of what we write is character-based. Without them, what do we have? Scenes mostly... Maybe a monologue... Not much more...

3 hours ago   ·  1

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