Writing for a genre versus writing your characters are different processes. They require different approaches and organization, and the characters themselves will not be the same if they were written into two stories with the same plot–one written with the genre approach and the other with the character (development) approach.
A story based around the genre it is written in will have more of a focus on the plotline–forward motion of the characters and their actions, resulting in some sort of resolution. The goal is the resolution of the plotline, for the characters to go through the plot arc step by step until they reach the end.
On the other hand, a story based around its characters is less interested in a plot progression as it is in the development of its characters. The characters are the focus: how they react to plot catalysts, how they deal with failure, how they achieve their goals. In a genre story, they are the pawns, being directed forward by the writer, sending some off to die and some off to check the king. In a story of their development, they are the directors, so to speak, and they set their own course through the obstacle course that the writer creates based on their personalities and their decisions.
Characters tend to blossom on their own a little more in development stories than in genre-based fiction. The writer, of course, created their personalities and their histories, but in a story based on a character, that character can surprise the writer. In a genre story, characters almost never surprise the writer because the writer always knows what they’re going to do when faced when plot-point X.
Neither one is better than the other, though character-based plots often get touted as “literature” while genre-based books are labeled as “pulp”. Genre lit is praised by many who enjoy the fast-paced storylines and the memorable characters who starred in them. The character-based literature is often enjoyed by those who don’t mind a sometimes slower read as it gives them the opportunity to consider and search out the little hidden corners of both the characters and the plot itself.
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