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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Friday, April 13, 2007


In her book, BIRD BY BIRD, Anne Lamott writes, “Plot grows out of character. If you focus on who the people in your story are, if you sit and write about two people you know and are getting to know better day by day, something is bound to happen.”

She goes on to say, “….don’t worry about the plot. Worry about the characters. Let what they say or do reveal who they are, and be involved in their lives, and keep asking yourself, Now what happens? The development of relationship creates plot.”

As many of us know, Anne Lamott shares a lot of wonderful writing advice.

Every book on my keeper shelf is there because of the characters. If a book doesn’t have compelling characters that make me care, I usually end up putting the book down and forgetting about it. And yet, even though I am aware of this, I often find myself working on a story and thinking, “What should happen next?” Instead, I should be thinking, “What would my characters do next?”

Any thoughts?



At 5:42 PM, Blogger bridget said...

I agree, Theresa! I think that's why Loretta Chase is so amazing...her characters jump right off the page. When I'm in the right groove, I know it, because the characters write themselves.

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Judy T said...

What a great post. Thank you!

I admit that I am first and foremost drawn to the characters. All my keeper books are about characters. I also get frustrated when plot invades into the story so much that I sit there thinking "That character, with their background, would not have donedone that." Then the story becomes quite forgettable.

I've often asked myself "What happens next?" But I much prefer your question "What would my characters do next?"

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

I loved Bird by Bird, and you are exactly correct about the characters being the reason books make it to my limited keeper shelf. In addition to all my Noodler pals' books, I have all of Pamela Morsi's historicals and all of J.R. Ward's books in addition to some Carolyn Grayson historicals and a few assorted others.


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