If a great character doesn’t have a reasonable plot it won’t work and at the same time, if a fantastic plot has cardboard characters then neither will work, so it’s a tough question. However, if I had to choose, I’d say for me the character is absolutely the most important. Well developed, believable characters drive the plot, and sometimes even change the direction of a novel.
I always plan a novel through my main character or characters; for me it may be a woman who has a problem/ a sadness/ or something in her past that has brought her to this point and causes her to behave in a certain way. I like to know my character’s star signs, their favourite colours, foods and preferred music – all these elements help to build the character and help me to imagine their choices and the way they live. It may never be necessary to reveal all this minutiae to the reader – but it helps me as the writer to really get under my character’s skin, create realistic dialogue and decide how they would react to a situation or another person.
In ‘Love, Lies and lemon Cake,’ the heroine Faye’s unhappiness and disillusion with her life are what drives her on to make choices and take risks. She is playful, shy and self-deprecating… conversely her star sign is Leo, which means she’s also strong, determined and destined to chase her dreams. It’s Faye’s inner strength and determination that helps her to break free from her humdrum life and moves the narrative along. Likewise in my new Christmas book ‘Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake’ – it’s the different personalities of two sisters that create the tension, the humour and much of the plot. Tamsin is very rich, very posh and hides a secret, whereas Sam, her younger sister is a free spirit, and the antithesis of everything Tamsin holds dear. The sisters even disagree about how to dress a Christmas tree – so when these two come together you don’t need a writer, you need a referee! And for me, as a writer that’s when the fun begins, putting two strong characters together and watching them fight it out. Good characters will take you through everything and, in my view if your characters work –the plot naturally follows.
Sue was previously a journalist with national newspapers and magazines before moving on to being a TV Producer for the BBC. Deciding that she’d love to write a novel, Sue became a writer. Her book is called Love Lies and Lemon Cake. To learn more about Sue, there are several ways you can:
Sue’s website: http://www.suewatsonbooks.com/
Like Sue’s page on Facebook –
Follow Sue on Twitter
Love, Lies and Lemon Cake was released by Bookouture on 27th June and is available to buy now as well as her Christmas themed novel, Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake. Click here to view both on Amazon.
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.