Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jeff Gerke's Plot Vs. Character ~ Reviewed

Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction
Jeff Gerke
ISBN-10: 1582979928 | ISBN-13: 978-1582979922 | Publication Date: November 16, 2010 | Edition: 1


What's more important to a story: a gripping plot or compelling characters? Literary-minded novelists argue in favor of character-based novels while commercial novelists argue in favor of plot-based stories, but the truth of the matter is this: The best fiction is rich in both.

Enter Plot Versus Character. This hands-on guide to creating a well-rounded novel embraces both of these crucial story components. You?ll learn to:

Create layered characters by considering personality traits, natural attributes, and backgrounds

Develop your character?s emotional journey and tie it to your plot?s inciting incident

Construct a three-act story structure that can complement and sustain your character arc

Expose character backstory in a manner that accentuates plot points

Seamlessly intertwine plot and character to create a compelling page-turner filled with characters to whom readers can?t help but relate

And much more

Filled with helpful examples and friendly instruction, Plot Versus Character takes the guesswork out of creating great fiction by giving you the tools you need to inject life into your characters and momentum into your plots.


Gerke has written a winner. Whether you are a plot-driven or character-driven writer, this book has something for you. (I'm still waiting for the book for the procrastination-driven writer.) Written in an enjoyable conversational style, it's like the author is sitting down at Starbucks having a one-on-one consultation with you about your work. I enjoyed being able to go straight to the chapters that addressed my specific weakness areas. If you're looking to be a more well-rounded author, this is the book for you.

Reviewed by: Jenny B. Jones

Bonus Review:

I don't care whether you're a beginning storyteller or you have multiple published novels to your name, your writing will be tighter after reading Jeff Gerke's Plot versus Character. And I would recommend reading it more than once. As Gerke points out, most novelists lean in one direction or the other, and you don't have to be writing long before you can tell whether your writing is plot driven or character driven. In my opinion you can often tell by the types of novels you read. Partial to thrillers and other fast-paced action? Then you probably aren't excited about the idea of fleshing out your own book's characters until they nearly walk off the page. Partial to sharp dialogue between fascinating people? Then you've probably been told you need to add "conflict" to your plot. Or plot to your plot.

Gerke has had enough experience in the publishing industry to know most writers struggle to simultaneously provide riveting plot and compelling, believable, characters. So he shows how to strengthen your skills in both regards and then blend them together. I can't wait to apply this book to my next manuscript. Highly recommended to novelists and anyone even considering writing a novel.

Reviewed by: Trish Perry

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