the world as will


Someday someone will come along and will tear down these walls you’ve built around your heart. And when that love comes back to you, you must do everything in your power to fight for it. 

1053. Harry Potter is descended from Gryffindor through his mother. Gryffindor had a squib daughter with a muggle woman. Because they weren't married he made sure that the woman and their daughter were taken care of for the rest of their lives. He even bought them places in Muggle society. The squib daughter grew up unaware that her father was a wizard. She eventually married a muggle merchant and had many children.

paintwords  asked:

Oh, and what's most important when starting a story? The development of the plot, the characters, or the world?

There really is no right answer to this, because it’s all about your personal process. Some writers do well knowing very little about their characters going in, so long as they know their world well and have a vague idea of their plot. But other writers find little enjoyment in writing about characters that they haven’t vetted in depth beforehand. So what you develop the most before writing depends on what you need in order to move forward with the project and not lose momentum.

However, I wouldn’t be me if I left it at that, so let me go on to explain the potential pros and cons of going into your story with the greatest understanding of each.

The Plot

  • Pros

The advantage of starting a story with a good idea of your plot means you shouldn’t get stuck. You may have to spend some time developing specific scenes as you create your characters, but scene work shouldn’t be too hard if you know the big ticket items like the inciting incident, the rising and falling action, the climax, and the resolution or aftermath following the main conflict. It should mean that the process of writing a usable first draft is significantly shorter.

  • Cons

Developing a plot from start to finish before you begin writing is hard. The writing process is sometimes best when we mix things up and do a little of everything - brainstorm, research, outlining, writing, editing. When you commit to developing your plot all before writing, you’re committing to a lot of brainstorming and outlining and not much else. You might occasionally research something, but you may end up with itchy fingers to start writing actual scenes before you finish your plot outline. Not to mention, you may put a lot of work into an outline that ends up going to hell when you start writing actual scenes. If this ends up being you, then having your plot figured out beforehand may not be your best method. 

The Characters

  • Pros

For some writers, characters are the reason they write. One of the reasons we write fanfiction is because we already know the characters and have formed deep attachments to them. So if you’re someone who has written a lot of fanfiction, that could be one clue that character development prior to drafting is important to you. The pro of doing this beforehand is that you’re committed to telling the story of these particular characters, and regardless of what changes you make to your plot, you’ll stay engaged with the characters and continue to develop them, creating a stronger relationship with them overall. And a greater bond between writer and characters makes for more well thought out development and stronger characters in the long run.

  • Cons

Detailed character development might hint at potential plots, but if we jump in to writing stories based on a vague idea from character development, it might take longer to come up with a complex, detailed plot that spans an entire novel. That’s not to say it’s a waste of your time - the more you write with the characters, the more you learn about them, but it can be frustrating to make progress with little plot development complete before you start. 

The World

  • Pros

Certainly if you’re writing in a world unlike our own present world, like the past or future, or an alternate or parallel world, or a fantasy world, developing the world beforehand is a huge help. Because developing a world opens you up to telling many stories that may change as your interest or ideas change. Once Riordan established the universe of Percy Jackson, he was able to continue writing more and more stories within that universe, including the follow-up series about Jason. This is great if you hit a dead-end with your plot. You can start over with new characters and a new plot, while still using all the work you’ve put into establishing the world. 

  • Cons

I think the biggest con I can really pinpoint here is that sometimes when we focus on the world first, we overplan and we start thinking that our world is the equivalent to the plot. I’ve seen lots of asks over the last couple years (and on other blogs) where someone explains that their story is about _____, and the description talks more about the world the story takes place in and less about what actually happens in that world (the plot). It’s easy to forget about actually telling a story, so much so that you end up just writing episodically in the world without any idea what you really want to say about it. So in those respects, it can delay you from moving forward. 

So as you can see, it depends on your personal preferences, habits, and inclinations as a writer. Sometimes you just have to experiment and see what works best for you. 


  • Winry Rockbell: Isn't that a bit dangerous?
  • Edward Elric: Winry, please. We've been in a lot of unexpected predicaments before and we always escape unhurt.
  • Winry Rockbell: ...
  • Edward Elric: Okay, we sometimes escape unhurt.
  • Winry Rockbell: ...
  • Edward Elric: All right, we escaped unhurt once! And... then we hurt ourselves on the way home.