Inside Out, Outside In

If you are a writer, do you sit down to think about the inner journey and the outer journey of your story? I’m an action girl. I love adventurous books, so when I think of a story it’s all about the action. The sword fights, the quest, the obstacles that get in the way of my characters. I don’t usually think about the inner journey. I work from the outside in.

But we can’t have one without the other, because what is a bunch of battles, unless we care about who is involved. And for it to be believable, there has to be some kind of  cause and effect going on between the outer journey and the inner journey.

In The Art of War for Writers, James Scott Bell has a great definition of these two elements:

The Outer level (sometimes called plot) is the record of the events that happen to and around the main character.

The Inner level (sometimes referred to as story) is the record of what happens inside the character as a result of the plot.

To deepen the inner journey, Bell challenges us to think about what our main character is like before he begins the journey and how he will change. The plot is instrumental in how the change takes place. The plot and story go hand-in-hand and the emphasis varies depending on whether our novel is character or plot-driven.

So what say you? Is your writing more character-driven or plot-driven? Have you thought about the relationship between the events/plot and the character’s inner journey?





One thought on “Inside Out, Outside In

  1. […] Monday, we touched on whether our stories tend to be more plot-focused or character-focused. Me? I’m […]

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