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A Character Driven Story

One of the selling points of The Regret of Vitrerran is that it has a character-driven story. This "Key feature" is something I've thrown around a handful of times, though I've never actually explained what it means. That is something that needs to be fixed.

I've always looked at novels and other written stories under two guides: plot driven or character driven. All novels fall somewhere between the two to be sure--for characters without a plot or a plot without characters make for bad storytelling--but the main approach seems to either be one of plot or one of characters.

A plot-driven piece of work is one where the story is thought out ahead of time. Perhaps the author crafted an extensive outline and his characters followed his preplanned plan with efficiency. Perhaps the author crafted an outline and deviated more than he thought, yet still his characters hit the major headings in their proper fashion. Character arcs and character development are forethought things.

The Golden Compass reads like a very plot-driven affair. The speed with which Lyra makes her way through the book can only be described as rapid, and everything seems to happen and fit together too perfectly for forethought to have not been involved.

A character-driven piece of work is one that's driven by the characters. The author starts out with a small idea, a set of people he wants to work with, and then he throws it all together in a blender. Once he has enough to start working, he simply starts working and damn the consequences! Some things will be preplanned, specific instances of notable importance, but everything else will be spontaneous.

Cujo was a character-driven story by Stephen King's own admittance, and really, almost all of his novels are. That's just how he writes.

But in video games, the writing process is much more difficult.

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