So, this question has been rolling around in my head the past couple of weeks. Before the...book...I finally committed myself to recently, I had another one I was developing, where the plot was really strong, but the characters? Well, they needed some work. Hence the reason I probably have it shelved right now (not that I won't go back to it, just right now it won't work...).
And that led me to the question, what matters most - plot or characters? Is there a time when one matters over another?
After all is said and done, really both have a strong purpose in a book, but people seem to think that it means different things...here's what some of you said:
What came first - the chicken or the egg?
"To use television for example, Breaking Bad revolves around the protagonist and the morally questionable decisions he makes. These decisions have consequences that lead to events. The character drives the plot.
"On the other hand, take a show like CSI, which yes, has interesting characters, but is mostly plot driven. It's more about solving the mystery than understanding how the characters are feeling and how they make their decisions. The plot exists on its own, and the characters kind of inhabit it.
"Both kinds of stories are entertaining, but if you have to aim for one, aim for good character, one who will make compelling decisions that will affect the future of the world around them. You will have a good plot emerge out of that."
That's true...it's a lot easier to make something out of a book when the characters are strong. You have to be a really good writer to pull of a strong plot line with weak character development (it happens, of course, but still that isn't always easy).
And reality_engineer on reddit.com said the same, "I am a fan of plots, foremost, but even a genius plot will suck with bland characters. Strong character can work with a boring plot, an example would be Harry Potter, where the plot is totally flat, but it still works. So I'd say character is the most important for most audiences. Also see: reality television - almost purely based on character, very popular."
And that's a fantastic point...if you watch reality tv, you will note that not much happens. It's the personality of the people that make it fascinating. Well, if you don't watch much reality tv, here is a fantastic example of when character just makes the entire story that much more interesting. Watch this:
So, I think I've come to the conclusion that character matters just a little bit more than plot. Although plot matters too.
Cause no matter how little you know about the character...
...if the plot makes your heart beat really fast....
Then you know you will still have a really good story...
So what do you think? What matters most - character or plot?
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Nicole Pyles, blogger for World of My Imagination is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.