Erudite Readers discussion

Debates > Incredible characters or incredible plot?

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message 1: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Jr. (anthonymbriggsjr) | 7 comments Either one can work, and the best books probably have a bit of both. But if you had to pick one, which do you prefer?

It's like asking which of your children is your favorite to me, but when I consider two of my favorite movies -- Braveheart (character) and The Matrix I (plot) -- I think character has the edge by a hair. A story with an incredible plot leaves me amazed, with incredible characters it leaves me moved.

An exception was A Tale of Two Cities, which I would classify as plot but still left me moved.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I think plot. You really read a story so that whatever happens can entertain you, right? For example, I hate all of James Patterson's characters. But all of the stories are really interesting so he keeps me reading

message 3: by Ophelia ॐ (new)

Ophelia ॐ | 749 comments I prefer incredible characters. Characters are what make a story memorable, what they say, do, their personalities. I love a memorable character.

message 4: by Dina (new)

Dina Heikal (dhekal) | 442 comments I think it depends on the person reading. some people get more attached to the characters, and just move with them to whatever events that awaits. others love a good plot plot. they enjoy the idea itself and go on with the story just to see how it turns out. For me I'm both. I can read a story for its good characters or a great plot.

message 5: by Anthony (last edited Dec 21, 2012 04:04PM) (new)

Anthony Jr. (anthonymbriggsjr) | 7 comments Jordan (The Gleek) wrote: "I think plot. You really read a story so that whatever happens can entertain you, right? For example, I hate all of James Patterson's characters. But all of the stories are really interesting so he..."

You've got that right. Patterson is plot, exclusively. lol

Dina wrote: "I think it depends on the person reading. some people get more attached to the characters, and just move with them to whatever events that awaits. others love a good plot..."

Very true -- the question is, if you're forced to pick one over the other, which one would you pick?

message 6: by Katrina (new)

Katrina Welsh (katrinawelsh_) Hardest question. But I think I'm a character person. I think awesome characters can really drive the simplest plots. I love reading about their arcs and to see how they change.

But it also depends on the genre. Like if it's contemporary or coming of age sotries, then the characters tend to be more developed (the good ones anyway) because it's essentially about their growth as a person. If it's a mystery or suspense, then the focus would be more on the plot. The author wants to keep the reader excited and focused with the plot twists and the red herrings and to keep them guessing. That's why Petterson's characters aren't that good. The focus isn't on them.

message 7: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine (jazzyjams) | 1616 comments If I had to choose for my long-term memory, I would say characters are more important. Over time I forget small plot points, but a character's personality sticks.

However, if we are refering to my ADD, somewhat lazy short term memory/attention span, I would say plot is more important. As much as it bugs me to read a story with bad characters, if something interesting is happening to them, then I will at least finish the book.

message 8: by Jon, The Paperback Prince (new)

Jon (scottreadsit) | 5707 comments Mod
I am going to say characters because horrible characters can ruin the best of plots..

message 9: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown Plot every time, because a good plot can make the character grow.

message 10: by Liz (new)

Liz (lookingstrongjohn) | 41 comments Tough, but I have to go with plot, because iv read too many books that are just SO slow and boring and just.. Blah - the characters kinda grow on you anyway - I don't know what it is, but they do - even evil/annoying/double crossing/ mean characters grow on you, and yes, their even better when their done well, but honestly, if the plot isn't going anywhere within the first 70 pages, it's lost it for me

message 11: by Susie (new)

Susie Walker | 4 comments I say characters, if well done they make even a simple plot memorable!

message 12: by Karina (new)

Karina I think both are important but I am going to have to say plot. I don't always have to like the characters to enjoy the book. In fact I like when not all the characters are perfect and likable. I would rather read a book where I enjoy the story and hate the characters then read a book that has a horrible plot but great characters.

message 13: by Salina (new)

Salina I'd preferably choose Incredible Characters, even if a plot is reluctantly 'boring', the Characters still brings it up. But if it goes the other way, I'd definitely sleep the whole way through the book. As if saying, if I were to give an example, 'The Fault in Our Stars', if you've ever read it, I'm not a fanatic 'romance' fan, and so I Sometimes can't seem to handle romance as well so much, but the characters in the book, they are simply unforgettable. I've read books with incredible plot and terrible characters, I'd wish I just could just somehow even change the characters themselves, I wouldn't even bother continuing sometimes.

message 14: by Leonard (new)

Leonard (leonardseet) Though I enjoy fascinating plots, the books that I remember after a few years are those that have memorable characters. It may be that because most books are plot-driven rather than character-driven, the unique characters stands out much more. And my brain selects what's unique to remember.

message 15: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Jr. (anthonymbriggsjr) | 7 comments Interesting thoughts here. So far it's:

Plot: IIII
Character: VIII

message 16: by Robert (new)

Robert Clear (robertclear) | 7 comments I'd say characters. I think if they're well-crafted they can enliven a dull plot.

message 17: by Bookiemonster (new)

Bookiemonster | 85 comments I say plot, but characters is really close. because there are so many books i've read the characters are reallly badly done, but i lovvve the plot, so i carry on.

message 18: by Jason (new)

Jason Bond (jasonbondauthor) I'm reading a book right now that has a VERY interesting plot, but the characters are no more than cardboard. There needs to be a balance, but I prefer a fast paced plot.

message 19: by Michele, The bookoholic! (new)

Michele C (mcgxo95) | 4897 comments Mod
I'm going with plot. There have been plenty of books where I have hated the characters but the plot was amazing so I didn't really mind.

message 20: by Chante (new)

Chante I'm going to say characters because I think that incredible characters lead to a good plot. What the characters do impacts the plot and determines which direction the plot goes in.

message 21: by Bookiemonster (new)

Bookiemonster | 85 comments character: 9
plot : 8

That's how it is so far

message 22: by Karina (new)

Karina I am actually not sure anymore -_-

message 23: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine (jazzyjams) | 1616 comments We were keeping a count? Huh... Well I said both so I have no idea what I was counted as...

message 24: by Charleen (new)

Charleen | 46 comments Plot. A good story can have boring characters, but I certainly can't imagine a boring story having good characters. This actually happened with a movie I watched, and I always prefer a better plot :)

message 25: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Siciliano (bethann4j) | 9 comments Both

message 26: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Rand For me, interesting characters can pull me along a nebulous or unstructured plot. I'm thinking of the work of J. M. Coetzee, especially. A good plot but bland characters just gets boring after about 50 pages.

message 27: by Diane (new)

Diane | 27 comments I am a plot person. I can get past those annoying characters if the story is good. A good book has both though

message 28: by Brooke (new)

Brooke (bilbolovesbooks) I'm definitely in it for the characters. Without good characters to sustain them, I think most plots become boring, redundant, or just plain improbable. I'll gladly stick out the disjointed, over-sentimentalized plot of The Old Curiosity Shop for the sake of Quilp or Dick Swiveller, or play along with the unlikely circumstance of I Capture the Castle for the company of its colorful cast, but I can't get past Fanny Price's insipid personality (sorry, Austen fans), no matter how intriguing the plot of Mansfield Park is. I have to feel connected with the characters to enjoy the story.

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