Story is what happens to characters.
You have to build and develop rich, multi-faceted characters and then follow their lead. Sure, you have a story idea and some plot development in mind, but let’s face it…kids don’t go to the store and buy “Plot” action figures. No, they want the characters. People don’t wear t-shirts with a book, comic or movie plot on the front. They wear the character and the character is the face of the story. Did J.K Rowling write the “Magical Community: Good vs. Evil Conflict” series? No…she wrote the Harry Potter series.
You get the idea. Trying to force characters into a plot is like holding the arrow while you throw the bow. Not as effective, kind of awkward. It’s contrived.
This is not to say that you don’t need plot. You do, you need conflict. You need something happening. Don’t believe me? Pretend that deer over there is your reader..(see it over there? With the Bambi eyes, chewing on berries and looking for a good book to read..) now put the bow down. Here you go, one arrow. Now go get that deer. Good luck.
So, you can see how they work together. However, it’s the arrow that cuts the air. It’s the arrow that leads the way and it’s the arrow that buries itself in the hearts of our readers…um, deer….
So, when you are constructing your story, or working on a piece in progress, listen to your characters. If something does not seem right, if there are moments when you just can’t seem to write that scene, take a good look at what is going on. But don’t do this from your point of view. Relax your grip on the bow and focus your aim along the shaft of the arrow. There’s a pretty good chance that you weren’t letting your character point the way.