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Plot or Characters? — Book Blogger Hop

December 17, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

This Week’s Question:

What do you consider most important in a story: the plot or the characters?

My Answer:

Both plot and character development are important to a story, but I find it very difficult to fall in love with a story if I don’t fall in love with the characters within that story.

A great plot in a book is a boon and it can help you keep turning the pages.  However, I feel that without knowing the characters well,  an important factor is lost.  That factor is an emotional connection.  I know I am reading a good book when it evokes emotional responses from me.  This can only happen if I am so attached to the story that I am feeling a connection to the story the author has created.  We don’t derive our emotional responses from plot but from character.  A great book, to me, has characters in it that you sympathize with or that you are repulsed by or that you adore or that you hate.

How can you have these emotional responses towards the characters unless they have been treated with importance and are well developed.  You have to get to know aspects of the characters and learn about them to become attached.  I love learning about the characters in the books, finding out about what drives them to do what they are doing and to develop a “relationship” with them.  Sometimes, you can find yourself as a cheerleader on the sidelines for a really well written protagonist.

The best books I’ve read have had great characters and also really good plots, but to me what drove me to read the books and to love them was the desire to constantly know what was going to happen next to the character, because I felt I knew them so well.

Sorry for rambling and also feel free to argue with me on this one …

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2010 8:53 am

    Hey…thanks for “hopping” by and commenting on my blog. I appreciate, and wanted to reciprocate. I also love falling in love with my characters…I believe that can really make a book come alive!

  2. December 17, 2010 10:05 am

    Hi! I am hopping through on the blog hop!

    I agree that both are important, but if I don’t like the characters, I don’t care about the plot.

    Have a great weekend!

    If you have time, drop in and say hi at Manga Maniac Cafe

  3. December 17, 2010 12:43 pm

    Oh me what a question this week.

    I really think the characters are important. It makes me want to read the book if I want to know the characters. But a good plot with twists just makes it move along.

    I just finished a degree in Biological Sciences and am still working on a degree in Humanities, History, and Religious Studies. What do I want to do when I grow up? I want to be the hottest historian on the history channel, national geographic, or discovery channel!

    I’m launching a new reading challenge that you might be interested in, Morbid Romantica Challenge 2011.

    Also today is the start of a Ridley’s Giveaway where you can win a Hardcover copy of either Beautiful Creatures or Beautiful Darkness.

    Mad Scientist

    Steampunkery & Book Reviews

  4. December 17, 2010 1:38 pm

    Wow, great answer 🙂 You really thought about this one.

    Thanks for hopping by

  5. December 17, 2010 2:01 pm

    Hi, I personally love both – though characters do win over the majority of the time but thats not to say I haven’t read books because of the plot too. So I’m in the middle with this question.

    My Follow Friday/Book Blogger Hop

  6. December 17, 2010 2:51 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I do agree that books with strong character development get the most out of me emotionally. I can enjoy a plot driven book but my reactions are usually motivated by how the characters themselves react to what is happening.

    Happy weekend 🙂

  7. December 17, 2010 3:29 pm

    This might be the best Book Blogger Hop question I’ve seen to date.

    So what’s the answer? Plot! Hop over to my blog and let me tell you how a good plot rescued bad characters from bad book oblivion.

    Howard Sherman
    http://www.howardsherman.net

  8. December 17, 2010 6:52 pm

    I like your answer — very well thought out! 🙂 I find myself on the fence — I think plot and characters support each other to make for a good read.

  9. December 17, 2010 10:04 pm

    What a great answer. I definitely need the emotional connection. I’ve often said that I don’t need a book to spell out my life’s story, but I do want to feel something for the characters, identify myself with them in some way or at least like them.

    Oh! and the falling snow in the blog is cute!!!

    Alex

  10. December 18, 2010 2:22 am

    Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂
    Wow, what a detailed answer! I really like the point about emotional responses. I’d only thought of humour, haha.

  11. December 18, 2010 10:39 am

    I’m hopping back!
    You went all out on your answer. 🙂 I agree with you whole-heartedly. I want to feel something for the characters, whether it be love or hate, just something!
    Happy Holidays!

  12. December 18, 2010 12:44 pm

    Wow I love your answer. I think characters are the most important element to a story for the same reasons you give – I couldn’t have said it better!
    This question has generated a lot of great discussion. Hop on over: http://afairysplayground.blogspot.com/

  13. December 18, 2010 5:05 pm

    Hopping by to return the visit! Yes, ideally, both plot and characters work together to produce something great, but I’m like you–if I don’t see those well-developed characters, I’m not going to be fully committed to the story.

  14. December 19, 2010 7:01 am

    Absolutely agree with you. For me, it’s usually the characters that keep me coming back for more in a serial. Besides, it’s much easier to get attached to a character, who even as they grow remain a constant across books. A plot is typically always evolving and different from book to book within a series.

  15. December 19, 2010 7:59 am

    Hopping back. Thanks for the comment. I wonder if the preference for character over plot is a modern thing. I’m thinking of Aristotle’s essay which I vaguely remember from a drama class in college about the essential elements of a story. What I remember is that it was mostly about plot and not character. I wonder if there’s a historical shift from plot to character.

    http://kentuckiana-rrr.blogspot.com/

  16. December 19, 2010 8:58 am

    Thanks for hopping by my blog. I didn’t even think about the emotional response part when I wrote my response.

  17. December 19, 2010 12:00 pm

    Thanks for hopping by my blog. I wonder if historically character has become more important than plot.

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