Obviously a really truly good book has an exciting plot AND compelling characters, but what matters most to you?
If the plot is slow-moving, it’s pretty easy to get bored with a book. I know that I have fallen asleep plenty of times because my current book doesn’t have enough going on to keep me interested. I want to be anxious, emotionally distraught, excited, romanced – and more often than not, it’s the plot’s various twists that make me feel that way. Basically, I want a plot that’s going to mess with my emotions big time and often. So, yes, plot is very important.
Characters are what make me care about what’s happening in the plot. I need to love the main character and s/he needs to be believable. I say that last part lightly of course, since I read lots of fantasy novels where the characters are vampires, werewolves,, fae, etc.
What I do care about is their personalities. I need a character with lovable traits and personality flaws (I’m actually a sucker for hopelessly flawed characters) and, most importantly, I need characters who act in ways consistent with their character traits. Yes, they can have moments that are out of character, but they need to be perceived by all within the book as exactly that, out of character. I hate it when a character does something that doesn’t make sense but everyone acts like it was completely normal and to be expected.
I also love characters that grow and change – probably why I get so addicted to series; watching them conquer their demons (sometimes quite literally) and grow into better people is thrilling for me. So, yes, characters are very important.
It’s probably pretty obvious based on what I had to say about both points, but for me characters are more important than plot, without a doubt. If I have an incredible plot but don’t care about the character involved in it, I don’t really care about the plot either.
What do you think?
What’s more important: plot or characters?