What is more important, character or plot?

The question posed on Booking Through Thursday this week is: 

Which is more important when you read — the actual story or the characters? I’ve read books with great plots, but two-dimensional characters, and I’ve read multi-layered characters stuck in clunky stories, and I’m sure you have, too. So which would you rather focus on, if you couldn’t have both?

If I read a novel, I want to read about interesting characters, not just good or bad, but characters who could very easily be real people, with depth and complexity. No matter how good the plot is, it can never compensate for the lack of well developed characters.

An intricate plot is a wonderful asset for a novel, but for me, reading has always been about the characters. If I don’t connect with the characters, if they don’t seem believable to me, I won’t get very far with the book. Besides, the very worst thing is a story in which the characters are doing wildly improbable things or making decisions that are way out of character just to keep the plot going.

The ideal situation of course is to have a story in which plot drives character and character drives plot…But I’m the sort of person who would happily read a plotless wonder just because I like the characters so much.

 

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2 thoughts on “What is more important, character or plot?

  1. Agreed totally ! The actions and choices of the characters should seem plausible to me. I felt the exact same way after reading The Rainmaker , my friend was disappointed with Grisham for not weaving in more courtroom scenes but I was quite happy with the characters !

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