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"Plot vs Character Development", 3rd Jan 2019, 3:22 AM #1
Kourtney

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When writing your comic series, which do you consider to be more important: the plot, or the development of your characters?

Me personally, I think it depends on what genre we're dealing with. For action, fantasy, and horror settings, I'd say more focus should be on the plot, while character development would be more important in comedy and romance settings.

As for my own writing? I try to strike up as well-rounded of a balance as possibly between the two in my Deathdaggers series.
3rd Jan 2019, 3:37 AM #2
Kelsey -Nutty- P.
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What if the character development advances the plot? :O
3rd Jan 2019, 4:14 AM #3
snuffysam

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What is plot without character development?

...no, seriously, what is it? I really can't think of any media that has a good plot but no character development.
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3rd Jan 2019, 4:33 AM #4
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I tend to think a plot without character development is boring x"D

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3rd Jan 2019, 5:00 AM #5
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Yeah they're definitely both needed for a story to be compelling imo. Another question would be how much of each would you general need in a certain type of story? Christopher Nolan and Stanely Kubrick for example are two examples of directors who's stories tend to have more focus on fantastic and grandiose plots/ideas instead of lots of character development. (The Shining, Inception, etc.) but they're stories still have plenty of character even if it's more subtle and not put into the spotlight, they usually compensate by having characters who are pretty memorable and instead of explicitly exploring their inner struggles they leave it up to the viewer to build a more fleshed out idea of the character(s).

A good idea is to try to move both forward (character arcs and plots) in a way that feels organic, and this is easier with lesser number of plot elements/characters, since it doesn't get bloated or off track, but sometimes it can work out well. That new spiderman movie into the spiderverse had lots of characters and plot and it all flowed really well!
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3rd Jan 2019, 5:15 AM #6
ShaRose49

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I personally think that character development is more important than plot, at least in the kind of stories that I like. But plot is almost as important.
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3rd Jan 2019, 7:35 AM #7
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I think character development is more important, because the characters make everything in a story.
But then again, in order for the story to make sense, you need a plot...
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3rd Jan 2019, 8:50 AM #8
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snuffysam:What is plot without character development?

...no, seriously, what is it? I really can't think of any media that has a good plot but no character development.


I'm kind of wondering the same thing. Characters exist within the plot and the plot should develop your characters. I Think I kinda see hat you're going for with the question but it just seems to me that these two things can't or shouldn't co-exist without the other.

Is your question more about what I spend real estate (i.e actual pages/panels) on in my comic? Like whether I focus on producing pages worth of exposition to explain the overarching conflict or pages with character moments?

To try and answer what I think your question is, I try to tell the overarching story through character development. I'm not saying that to try and sound pretentious. It's like, it's all about how the people in the story reacts to what's going on in the plot that matters. The character's reactions and how that helps them grow together is usually what I find fun about any story so I try to mimic that. A page that just explains that a hospital is gonna blow up is no interesting to me. But one where a mysterious voice calls in a threat to a frightened nurse/doctor is more so if that makes sense. And then seeing how the characters react, what they learn from an incident like that is even more fun!

You know, stuff like that. =)
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3rd Jan 2019, 12:43 PM #9
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you can have plot-heavy stories without character development. it just so happens that nobody changes their mind about anything during the whole story. when applied to a whole series, it makes your characters come across as horribly flat, but doing it occasionally is fine.

and you can also have character-heavy stories without much plot. many comedies, theater plays, slice of life shows, etc. focus on the interaction between strong personalities and the resulting hijinks and hilarity.

both of those things can be done well, but I think any long-running story needs plots and character development. they often affect each other in many ways. I always try to maintain a roughly equal amount of both in anything I write.
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3rd Jan 2019, 1:16 PM #10
DrewSpence

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"which do you consider to be more important: the plot, or the development of your characters?
Me personally, I think it depends"



I think you could have stopped there.
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3rd Jan 2019, 2:03 PM #11
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Kourtney:When writing your comic series, which do you consider to be more important: the plot, or the development of your characters?


Answer: Yes.
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3rd Jan 2019, 2:59 PM #12
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Kourtney:Me personally, I think it depends on what genre we're dealing with. For action, fantasy, and horror settings, I'd say more focus should be on the plot, while character development would be more important in comedy and romance settings.


I disagree. Character development is very important in fantasy and horror. In horror, it can make or break the character's ambitions, action and drive.
For example, in psychological horror and thrillers, the story largely hangs upon one character's perspective and either their growth or change.
Jacob's Ladder wouldn't be interesting if it wasn't so focused and if it were from another character's perspective. The main character's change from gradual mourning, fear, and acceptance of himself, his shortcomings, problems and situation are the cause for his subsequent ascension, otherwise he'd just end up in a continuous loop (trying to be a bit vague for people who haven't seen it).
In Evil Dead, Ash must choose between becoming possessed and killed or kill his possessed friends for his safety but also for his friends' sake. The second and third Evil Dead films are more dark comedy, but consider this question: would you kill your friends to save them from a horrible fate or let them continue to exist in the worst possible outcome?

Alien; Ripley must cope with the fact she's stranded in space with only a cat and minimal protection, while her husband and the rest of her crew are dead and a predator lurks in the shadows. She could become depressed and crawl up into a ball and let the xenomorph come get her, then the story's over.
The fact that Ripley decides to continue the fight for survival despite losing EVERTHING BUT HER CAT makes the story incredibly tense and high stakes. She's consistently named a strong and important character in popular culture.
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3rd Jan 2019, 3:34 PM #13
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snuffysam:What is plot without character development?

...no, seriously, what is it? I really can't think of any media that has a good plot but no character development.


It's quite common in hard science fiction. 2001: A Space Odyssey is probably the uber example. In SF literature, you have Ringworld, Rendezvous with Rama and the Terran Trade Authority series. All put their science fiction concepts before any real effort at character development. And it works because when you have something as awesome as a mysterious alien monolith, ancient alien megastructure, or cosmic puzzle dating back to the dawn of man, it would be absurd to spend an inordinate amount of time on character personalities and relationships.
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3rd Jan 2019, 3:47 PM #14
MK_Wizard

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I consider both as important though at times, you can't develop everyone. Your story can only go on for so long and it needs to focus on the main characters.
3rd Jan 2019, 4:18 PM #15
Kourtney

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I should've elaborated that when I say plot is more important for horror/action and character development is more important for romance/comedy, I didn't mean that it's a one or the other type deal.

For horror/action/fantasy, I personally believe that plot should drive character development. And for comedy/romance, I believe that character development should drive plot.

In all settings, the two shouldn't exist in a zero-sum struggle, but in a reciprocating complimentary literary system. That is, character develops plot, and in turn, this plot develops character, and so on.
6th Jan 2019, 11:14 AM #16
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The reason why I think your depends answer is the one true answer (lol) is that there are a hundred mechanisms that satisfy all the good writer check boxes that have nothing to do with making a choice between those two options.

There's a writer choice of having the character fully developed or already at the END of their developmental arc and further development is unnecessary. What happens in this case, is that the reader or audience is learning about the character. If it's all done in exposition, it's generally weak.
"They are this kind of person!" If it's done through action(s) it's the reader that is on a 'learning' journey.

It also depends on the format of your work. If you do episodic stories don't really need your characters morphing/growing/changing in every episode. That will force the show to only be run or enjoyed in an exact order and readers can easily get confused when watching the episodes out of order. Now, a ton of scenes make no sense without the previous episodes being fresh in the memory. In this case you have THE SAME characters reacting to different scenarios. These are the kind of shows that reset at the end- meaning everything is back to normal and all the characters become who they were in episode 1. Reset- so the next writer can write their own adventure and not need to reference all the stuff another writer added to their personal development.

Also depends because you can choose either at any point. Writers create mini-arcs where a certain character gets tons of development. If generic, it's usually before they die. lol If creative, they are usually being prepared for the next big plot twist. It might even be all done in one issue or episode.

Beginning to ramble, so enough of that.
For horror/action/fantasy, I personally believe that plot should drive character development. And for comedy/romance, I believe that character development should drive plot

You're saying this because you imagine plot = action sequences.
And character development = dialogue.

Or something like that.
If right, that's an interesting viewpoint.
I got to think about that angle some more.
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6th Jan 2019, 12:46 PM #17
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snuffysam:What is plot without character development?

...no, seriously, what is it? I really can't think of any media that has a good plot but no character development.


I agree but I could also reverse it. What is character development without a plot? I can't think of any good stories I've ever read/seen that had good character development but no plot. I mean even a story that is heavily about character development, like 12 Angry Men, still has a plot.

I think you need BOTH for the story to be any good.

The plot is what happens -- the series of events, A leading to B leading to C, that occurs in sequence.

Character development is how characters change in response to events -- behavior changes, attitude changes, relationship changes, and so on.

In most cases, a story needs both.
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6th Jan 2019, 10:00 PM #18
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Oh geez, I went on a long ramble.



TLDR
Plot is more important in webcomics. Character development is completely optional. (Controversial, I know.)
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6th Jan 2019, 11:10 PM #19
JackFractal

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A surprisingly common kind of character is "The Archetypical Hero." In a lot of dramatic works where they show up, they don't change at all, instead their presence is what causes people around them to change. You see that in a lot of Westerns. The Man With No Name is the same at the end of the movie as he was at the start, but he changes the people around him.

A lot of Film Noir detectives are Archetypal Heroes as well. They intersect with the other characters, their actions change them, but the Hero's themselves are unmoved by the plot. The Archetypal Hero is usually an outsider in some way, and they're seldom involved in the emotional core of the story.

Heroes are far from the only kind of characters that are archetypes. Fluffy made a good point that clowns are usually Archetypes, and that's what the Loony Toons characters are.

Archetypal clown characters can be fun, especially when they're interacting with each other, because they're sturdy. You can bounce them off of each other repeatedly to see what happens. Road Runner and Wyle E. Coyote are archetypal clowns, as are most characters in sitcoms or newspaper comic strips. Those characters are an evolution of the clown characters from things like the Vaudeville, Commedia Dell'arte and the Punch and Judy shows.

They are eternal, and unchanging. Any modifications to them, from physical damage to emotional growth, are temporary, erased the moment the next story begins.

If you're making an archetypal character, whether a Clown or a Hero, it's a good idea to know that you're doing it, and what their various strengths and weaknesses are.
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7th Jan 2019, 1:33 AM #20
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Why not both? I lean towards plot as a preference. It's a matter of taste I say.
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