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Writing Mistakes: Focusing Too Much on Plot

A good plot is very important in a novel. Without plot, your character/s would simply sit around thinking and talking all day long. A book without a plot would be kind of like your life on the weekend: you sit on your couch, playing video games, shopping at the mall, or doing whatever relaxing activities you do. Not much of a story there. A story needs a plot, something to keep the characters moving, the suspense growing, and the challenges coming. However, plot alone won't make your story good, which is what brings us to this week's episode of Writing Mistakes. This week, the mistake I want to highlight is focusing TOO MUCH on the plot. I have no problem using myself as a dandy bad example, so I don't mind saying that In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent was a highly plot-driven story. It's all about the epic adventure on which the characters embark, and the truth is that the plot is fun, enjoyable, and action-packed. But someone told me something interesting the other day. They said, "I loved the story, but I felt no identification to the characters." I read back over some of the book, and I realized something: there is almost no depth to the characters. The main characters are all likeable, relatable people, but the story is fairly shallow when it comes to actual personalities, struggles, and so on. Sure, there's the development of the main character, Deucalion, as he is marked by the God, has to fight the bad guys, and discover who is trying to kill the Empress, but not much more. Let my mistake be a lesson to you, and make your characters the highlight of the story! A good plot is important, but a good character is a MUST. Your novel shouldn't be driven by the story, by what's happening around your character, but your character needs to be the driving force of the story. Your character should struggle, he/she should fail and fall and make mistakes, and they should face the same crap that people in real life face. It doesn't matter what genre you are writing, as there are everyday problems that you can translate into steampunk, science fiction, or fantasy easily. Make your heroes flawed, your villains heroic, and add depth to your characters. Your writing should be all about helping your readers to identify with the characters, not just fascinated by the story. If you can combine a good plot with great characters, you are GUARANTEED success in your writing!