Well, I am a writer, and while I have not made any real money or recognition off the process…yet…something I am striving to do…I have written many stories, many perspectives, and many different types of story. So I feel, most certainly, that I know what I am talking about.
And over the years I have reached a conclusion about writing, well the conclusion for writing that I am about to lay out, of what is the most important things in a story. What you need to do to have a successful story and attract audiences and people and just be satisfied in your own endeavors.
So without further delay I present my hierarchy of writing needs.
Character is, I believe, what makes the world go around.
As I have stated before without characters a writer could not be grounded in any world he creates. All the worlds, and all the settings, and all the plots require characters to make them happen. Even if those characters are being mostly driven by events.
Furthermore they make an audience care about a story. No matter what the plot point is, how complex or simple, character is what drives us forward and makes us people looking on it from the outside care about a story, an event, or a circumstance.
Plot is important.
While the characters ultimately drive the plot, or are the centers of the plot, without a plot there would be nothing interesting for the characters to do or work on. There would be no action to drive, motivate, control, and than maybe have the characters overcome without that plot.
The two forces ultimately work in conjunction with each other a complete the other.
Setting is important but it is the least important of the three main important literary themes. At least in my opinion.
If you have good characters and a good plot structure your setting could just be ‘in a factory building in the middle of downtown Chicago’.
But setting can add flavor, and realism, and thematic importance to your story.
For instance the flavor of a setting, the dank dark depressing cluttered interior of a star ship, could indicate a state of decay. This could make the ship ancient, or damaged, or crowded, or indicate that the occupants of the ship are fleeing for their lives…from the Cylon tyranny!
Setting, in effect, can sometimes be a character all of its own, and add spice to your story.
4. Grammar and Spelling.
As with all elements to writing, this is immensely important to understanding and accepting fiction. If everything is misspelled or indecipherable, then no matter how awesome your characters or how deep your plot and themes, you cannot convey the message properly.
Mind you spelling and grammar differences can reinforce character, plot, and themes, but that is a discussion for another time and largely up to the individual author in charge.
But, why this is so important, is you can always work on it later. Establish your story, characters, theme, setting, and motivations and have those down, then you can work on proofing it and adding contextual later and stamping out any errors…then deciding if you want to keep those errors for whatever reason.
And then the importance of this is largely up to the tastes of the individual person reading it, as long as you can be understood, you should be fine.
5. Science and technical issues:
Again the importance of this is largely up to individual tastes. I tend to look at it as if your universe is logically consistent with its own rules and premises, then you should be fine. After all a lot of the most intense and hard-core science fiction, really is not too scientific.
But to a lot of people this is important.
And, much like setting, it could add flavor and character to your story. If you are trying to go for realistic and hard science fiction, then making sure to have scientific forms and real scientific facts could impress people.
Anyways this is my hierarchy of needs, I believe these are the things that are the most important in any story, and roughly the way you need to go about constructing your story. But only you can determine how you go about arranging these things…like for many reasons I find it easier to come up with a plot then characters, largely because I have to think up names.
Agree? Disagree? Comment!