In a previous post, I mentioned that mystery novels generally fall into three categories: Character-driven stories, Plot-driven stories, and a combination of the two. In a plot-driven mystery emphasis is on exterior events rather than on the inner story of each character. Characters often act as mere props for the twists and turns of the plot. Readers look for the next exciting action rather than the impact events have on characters. Think action, action, action. Often after a reader has finished a plot-driven novel she may not even recall the characters. As with character-driven stories, a good way for a new writer to enhance her skill in writing plot-driven novels is to read excellent books by authors who’ve written strong plot-driven books. Here are three authors and examples of their award-winning novels.
Tom Clancy wrote several plot-driven novels, four of which were made into movies: The Hunt for the Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and the latest film, The Sum of All Fears. Any of these books will provide insight into the style of a plot-driven novel.
Dan Brown wrote The Da Vinci Code, one of the biggest selling novels of the 21st century, and Angels and Demons. Both became blockbuster movies. Readers either love or hate Brown’s books, but there is no denying they are plot-driven.
Michael Crichton has won many awards for his writing. Two of his books, A Case of Need and The Great Train Robbery won Edgar Allan Poe Awards. His novel, Jurassic Park was made into a big money-making film.