Plot Versus Character

A balanced approach to writing great fiction.
Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

Plot Versus Character
A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction
by Jeff Gerke
Writer's Digest Books, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-58297-992-2
$17.99, paperback, 272 pages

Buy the Book

Read an excerpt

Author Jeff Gerke discusses conflict in this excerpt from Plot Versus Character.

Read an author interview
Jeff Gerke discusses writing and publishing advice, how studying movies can help you understand storytelling structure, and more in this interview.

About the book
Plot or character? A long-time sticking point for novelists. Yet, while literary novelists argue in favor of character-based novels and commercial novelists argue in favor of plot-based stories, the best fiction is rich in both plot and character.

In this exciting new book, author and writing instructor Jeff Gerke shows you how to create realistic characters, assemble a solid three-act story structure, and seamlessly intertwine both to create a compelling page-turner filled with characters to whom readers can’t help but relate.

You'll learn how to create layered characters, develop a character’s emotional journey and tie it to the plot’s inciting incident, construct a three-act story structure that can complement and sustain a character arc, reveal character backstory to accentuate plot points, and much more.

About the author
Jeff Gerke (www.marcherlordpress.com and www.wherethemapends.com) is an author of fiction and nonfiction including such books as the Operation: Firebrand novels. He has worked as an editor for numerous publications and is the founder of Marcher Lord Press, an indie publishing company dedicated to producing the finest in Christian science fiction, fantasy, and other wonderfully weird genres.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
Chapter 1 Does It Really Matter?
PART I Memorable Characters
Chapter 2 Core Personality
Chapter 3 Physical and Natural Attributes
Chapter 4 Major Events, Likability, Perceptions, and Speech
Chapter 5 Overview of the Inner Journey
Chapter 6 The Knot
Chapter 7 The Moment of Truth
Chapter 8 Initial Condition
Chapter 9 The Inciting Incident
Chapter 10 The Escalation
Chapter 11 The Final State
PART II Marvelous Plots
Chapter 12 The Stew
Chapter 13 Of Prologues and Introductions
Chapter 14 Understanding Three-Act Structure
Chapter 15 Act 2: The Heart of the Matter
Chapter 16 Act 1: Introductions
Chapter 17 Act 3: Climax and Dénouement
PART III Plot and character: together at last
Chapter 18 Integrating Plot and Character
Conclusion
Index

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a Love and/or Anti-Love poem.

Stationery vs. Stationary (Grammar Rules)

Stationary vs. Stationery (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of stationary and stationery on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Erik Larson Quote

Liminal Spaces: A Profile of Erik Larson

WD gives a peek at the daily routine of Erik Larson and the writing process behind his bestselling narrative nonfiction in this Nov/Dec 2020 profile by Zachary Petit.

Jennifer Boresz Engelking: On Giving Readers a New Appreciation of History

Jennifer Boresz Engelking: On Giving Readers a New Appreciation of History

Debut author Jennifer Boresz Engelking discusses what led her to write her historical nonfiction book Hidden History of Lake County Ohio and how research gave her a new appreciation for her hometown.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write an animal title poem.

Writer's Digest May/June 2021 Cover Reveal

Writer's Digest May/June 2021 Cover Reveal

Presenting the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest featuring a collection of articles about how curiosity fuels writers, including the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites for Writers and a new interview with Chris Bohjalian.

Through Another’s Eyes: An Auschwitz Survivor Inspires His Biographer

Through Another’s Eyes: An Auschwitz Survivor Inspires His Biographer

Popular lecturer and biographer Joshua M. Greene discusses the hardship of writing the biographies of Holocaust survivors, and the biography that convinced him to continue writing.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: The May/June 2021 Issue, a Chance at Publication, and more!

This week, we’re excited to announce that the May/June 2021 “Curiosity” issue is now live in the WD shop, there’s still time to have your From Our Reader’s response selected for publication in the July/August 2021 “Bravery” issue, and more!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 18

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write an ekphrastic poem.