Countdown is on for Jamaica!

Feb 08, 2022 10:06 pm



Good afternoon,

 Let’s talk about the character driven versus the plot driven story.

What is the difference between character driven vs. plot driven stories—and why does it matter when you’re writing?

The art and craft of storytelling is equally as important as having a story to tell at all. That’s because the way that you tell your story—including whether it’s plot driven vs. character driven—is going to play a big role in how impactful it is for your readers, as well as what they take away from the piece.

One of the easiest ways to tell if a story is character driven vs. plot driven is to look for the presence of an internal struggle and resolution within the protagonist—also known as a character arc. In character driven movies and novels, the protagonist doesn’t just have things happen to them. Rather, they actively change as a result of the events they face, and the author makes sure that you’re aware of what these changes are.

Character Driven

  • Character driven stories are mainly focused on the characters themselves, including their thoughts, arcs, and internal changes.
  • Character driven novels, movies, put people first.
  • Character driven movies, books, and short stories all have one thing in common: they position the struggles and insights of the main characters as the central guiding feature of the piece.
  • A story that is character driven is one in which you end up feeling like you deeply know and understand the protagonist.
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Plot Driven

  • Plot driven stories are mainly focused on events, including action, cause and effect, and external changes.
  • Plot driven stories put occurrences first. 

How to Write a Character Driven Story

Character driven novels and other story formats have a few basic elements. By mastering these, you can start to write from a character driven perspective and develop rich stories that take the reader along on an internally immersive journey.

If you are writing a Character Driven Story, keep these steps in mind:

1. Give Your Character a Backstory. To fully understand a character, you have to be able to put them into context. Giving your character’s a developed backstory will help readers understand how they got to where they are and why they’re reacting in certain ways.

2. Make Sure There’s a Conflict. Include a major conflict, but make sure to highlight the inner struggle that occurs as a result and not just the ups and downs of the situation. The story is in the transformation, which itself cannot take place without some sort of tension.

3. Provide Your Character With a Clear Point of View. What does your character think about what’s happening to them? Just as important as providing your protagonist with an internal struggle is ensuring that the reader can follow along with your character as they adapt and change, as opposed to just witnessing the change as an objective outsider.

4. Respect Your Character’s Integrity. The phrase “out of character” really applies here. Don’t have your character do something that’s outside of their nature just as a way to move the story in a certain direction. It will remove authenticity from the story and could even lose you some readers.

How to Write a Plot Driven Story


Do you love a story with a good twist? Then you’ll probably enjoy writing narrative driven pieces. Don’t let your characters fall flat in the pursuit of an epic plot, but do follow these quick tips to craft well thought-out plot driven stories.

1. Outline Your Story in Advance. Flesh out the beginning, middle, and end in advance so that you don’t find yourself on a never-ending narrative without a clear pace or stopping point. You’ll also want to plan out any big arcs or twists so that you can subtly work up to them instead of just tossing them in there.

2. Raise the Stakes. A plot that rambles along on an even keel isn’t a plot that’s going to hook your readers. Use action, settings, and characters to move your story along—including in directions that your readers weren’t anticipating. The higher the stakes, the more engaged your readers are likely to be.

3. Include a Twist. Most great plot driven stories include a twist in the narrative. One twisty, turn-y, unexpected plot occurrence is pretty much a guaranteed way to keep your audience invested in your story—and have them talking about it afterward too.

4. Highlight Cause and Effect. Plot driven stories aren’t just a series of events taking place one after the other. There needs to be causality linking them together—i.e. this happened because that happened, not this happened and then this happened. It’s a subtle but important difference, and it will make your narrative a lot more realistic and intriguing.

The Anthology

(This is not a requirement, but if you are hoping to get a first publishing credit, a bit of extra change, or to extend your brand.)

The Premise

Origin: Chosen 2 Soar with Chosen Pen Publishing holds an annual Forgiveness Retreat designed to fuel the spirit, soul, and body. Every year, men and women from every lifestyle make their way to a luxury destination retreat, where they learn to ask for forgiveness or to forgive. Each has a story more dramatic, toxic, tragic, and sometimes comical to share than the next. We give these empowered individuals the tools to leave the retreat and create their new beginning.


As an author, your task is to write a fictional short story. Include the characters’ when, what, where, why, and how of their forgiveness journey. Their journey may begin as early as the airport. However, most of your character’s story should unfold at the four-day Forgiveness Retreat in Jamaica they are attending.


We will give you a character analysis of four characters outside of the Forgiveness Retreat’s two facilitators to weave throughout your story. All participant writers will have these same characters for the continuum of story flow in the anthology. You do not have to use these characters in your story but use at least two characters to assist you in moving your story forward. (Think Love Boat.)


Your story should be only seven to ten thousand words, equivalent to under twenty pages. We will choose seven Writers Retreat contest participants for the Jamaica Ire’ anthology. You will have until March 31, 2022, to submit your completed work. After that, you are to complete your edits promptly. We are excited if this is your first published work. We look forward to reading it.


Winners will receive a contract. The contract will outline deadlines, compensation, and responsibilities. Olivia Gaines, our award-winning author, will anchor the anthology. Welcome to Jamaica, where everything is Irie’.

Our Jamaica Irie Schedule

(We have a workshop each morning then writing time)

Thursday, February 24- Arrival check in, and all White Reception

Friday, February 25- Conference Tees and Blinged out sandals

Saturday, February 26- Wear your best florals and wonderful straw hats

Sunday, February 27 – Hour of Power Service, Write In

Monday, February 28- Departure Day

Loads of love,

Happy New Year and See you in Negril.


Olivia Gaines

USA TODAY Bestselling Author

Romance Writer with Heart & Humor

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