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Which is more important: the plot or the characters?



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  #41  
Old October 8th, 2010, 9:20 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the Plot or the characters?

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Originally Posted by bellatrix93 View Post
I think each of them has it's own importance, you cant write a story with a good plot while your characters are not well-written and vice versa. In Twilight for instance, there are some well-written characters perhaps like Edward and Alice Cullen, but myself I cant say "I like Twiligt" just because there are some good characters there, while it's plot IMO, not a very nice one. Also as said in the post above, it wouldnt be interesting to read a good plot while the characters are not well-described and one dimensional. I think the plot and the characters are of the same importance.
Me too. If the story and the characters weren't well done -- then the story itself wouldn't be that good.

But also, I think it depends on the story as well too. There can be some stories out there -- where the characters mean more than the plot... and then there are some out there, where it's the reverse.

It all depends (at least for the most part) on how the writer writes the book.


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  #42  
Old March 6th, 2011, 7:30 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

They really should complement each other in order to have a really great story, but it really depends, IMO. It depends on what the author is trying to convey to the reader, as in whether s/he is writing about a historical event, it would be important to get the plot right, but if it were something like a fictional school shooting (as in Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult), character development was crucial.

Preferably, though, I love a good plot with lots of twists. Twilight was used as an example, so I'll expand on that. I discovered Twilight looooong before the craze and was entertained by the first book because it dealt with the supernatural and romance, my two favorite topics to read about. The characters weren't fully developed, but the plot was enough to gain my liking. Then the next books came out and they concentrated too much on sex and were very repetitive and did not have shocking twists and deaths (like HP!) to keep my interest. The plot was so boring because everything worked out in the end! (Because that always happens *cue sarcasm*). My point though, is that in the later books she developed the characters more but it didn't matter because it wasn't enough to save the series from the dreadful plotline.


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  #43  
Old March 7th, 2011, 4:28 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

The best answer, for me, is that both are important. But forced to choose between a great plot and a great set of characters, I'd choose plot.

The best examples I can think of are the video games, Mass Effect 1 and 2. Because they're set in the same universe, I feel a comparison between the two is a good way to go. The first game focuses on the story, with not a whole lot of character development. The second game focuses on character development, while not a whole lot happens in the plot. For me, the preferable experience (if gameplay is taken out of the equation) was the first game.

The first felt like a big, sweeping epic. A lot happened to advance the plot. The second game was almost exclusively about character development. You recruit allies, you form bonds with those allies, and it's your fault if some of those allies die. Because the characters are so well done, the pain of losing an ally actually does sting. But, in the second game, nothing truly big happened. There was no "wow" factor. Because of that, I felt that the first game was more enjoyable to play through, especially the first time.

But in reality, while you can do OK by having a great plot and decent characters, or vice versa, for the work to truly be memorable, you need to have both.


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  #44  
Old March 19th, 2011, 11:50 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

When I'm reading, it's usually the characters that I'm drawn to, and their relationships, so I think when I'm coming up with ideas I tend to start with the characters and work from there. So the characters are more important to me. I think it helps to have a really clear idea of the character first in order to know what they'd do in certain situations, so the plot can rely a lot on that. Of course the plot is important, and I have read plenty of things purely based on the plot and story, having little interest in characters, but I think everything is formed around the characters and their personalities so that takes a more important role in my mind


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  #45  
Old March 21st, 2011, 10:19 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

The characters are, to me, the most important things in a story. If the characters are completely flat/bland there's no way I'm going to read the story, no matter how amazing the plot.

Of course, that being said, if the plot doesn't complement the characters, it's also bad. For instance, you could have the most amazingly interesting character in the world, and if all he does is sit in a dark room eating cheesecake while thinking about whether apple or lemon cheesecake complements the mood better or some other inane topic then I'm also not going to read it.

Strong characters, and an interesting plot; but to me, characters are more important. I don't mind if the story doesn't have a twist ending and high tension, so long as there's SOME plot. Preferably not only involving cheesecake.

Yes, I do want cheesecake.


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  #46  
Old March 28th, 2011, 5:22 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

I think characters are what makes a story different. For me, I'm very interested in fantasy, both reading and writing. And to tell you the truth, fantasy plots are all the same. The only thing that differentiates a fantasy story would be the characters.


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  #47  
Old May 4th, 2011, 5:18 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

I would definitely say the characters. If i am reading a novel with characters who lack depth or who i find to be stupid i lose my desire to continue reading, regardless of the plot. This happened to me with the Hunger Games. I absolutely couldn't stand Katniss and currently view the books with distaste, though the plot line is riveting. With fascinating characters their emotions and thoughts can create a plot all their own, apart from what the character is physically doing. I love getting into the minds of interesting characters.


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  #48  
Old May 6th, 2011, 5:44 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

It depends on what you're trying to do. If you're writing a postmodern novel, plot usually. If you're writing something more traditional, characters (balanced with plot).


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  #49  
Old May 15th, 2011, 10:38 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

The characters move the plot along. For example, in the HP books, the plot wouldn't move along if it weren't for Harry's characterization.


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  #50  
Old May 19th, 2011, 11:00 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Both are equally important. The characters are only as good as the plot, unless there is an exceptionally carved out character with striking features.

When you make a plot, the characters come into picture (though not fully characterized) as you move along. Has happened to me, and I'm just passing it along. Maybe, different people work it out different ways. Co-dependent is just about the right word for me.


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  #51  
Old May 27th, 2011, 6:52 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

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Originally Posted by theprincestale7 View Post
I would definitely say the characters.

<snip>

With fascinating characters their emotions and thoughts can create a plot all their own, apart from what the character is physically doing. I love getting into the minds of interesting characters.
I'm currently reading The Baritone Wore Chiffon which is a mystery. There's a definite plot but there's nothing intricate about it. I read these books for the characters and there are plenty of interesting characters. I absolutely love the main character, Hayden Konig. Very humorous, too. The plot in between the mystery is driven by the characters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccollinsmith View Post
It depends on what you're trying to do. If you're writing a postmodern novel, plot usually. If you're writing something more traditional, characters (balanced with plot).
Thrillers and mysteries and the like need a strong plot. There are other genres that tell the story of one or two main characters without any strong plot but are character driven.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glacevenor View Post
Both are equally important. The characters are only as good as the plot, unless there is an exceptionally carved out character with striking features.

When you make a plot, the characters come into picture (though not fully characterized) as you move along. Has happened to me, and I'm just passing it along. Maybe, different people work it out different ways. Co-dependent is just about the right word for me.
I start with a character and a basic premise and then I tell his/her story. There's a danger in this, though. I have to watch out that I don't descend into fluff. My characters have to have an inner strength that may not be apparent on the outside and have to be believable. I like to write about ordinary people (except when I branch out into elves and wizards or when I write historical fiction) overcoming real life issues.

The bottom line is that you have to write what works for you and the readers who like your style will find you.


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  #52  
Old January 3rd, 2012, 12:36 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Characters,without a doubt.If you really think about,if you take HP and forget everything you know about the characters,take away all character development,and replace everyone with 2-Dimensional paper dolls doing everything,the book would have no meaning.There would be no reason for Ginny to pour her feeling into Tom Riddles diary,for she have no feelings.Harry would not feel any reason to get mad at Snape when he insults his father because he wouldn't have any feelings,and Snape wouldn't insult James because he would have even a involuntary flinch at Snivellous.Of course,if we gave each and every character expert dynamics,from Hannah Abbot to Professor Flitwick to each member of the Weird Sisters,and just had them strand around in the confines of a blank page,doing nothing, I would never read such a book.Neither would you I hope.In the end,they both water down to equality in importantness.I stand corrected-They are equally important.


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  #53  
Old February 9th, 2012, 4:24 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Both are very important to me. It's like a bird and its wings... I'm very picky to like books and if I had to mention a author that I think in most books there are good plot and good characters I would say Tess Geritsen... But I didn't read all of her books. I read most of the Rizzoli and Isles series and Gravity.
Her characters have very distinct personalities and they feel like people from the real world, and I can't help but to relate completely with a lot of them.
As for the plot, it is as good as the characters, and the plot always depend a bit on how the characters feel and their personalities and how they grow, sometimes.
I think this is how a novel should be written.


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  #54  
Old February 10th, 2012, 8:23 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

You can have a simple plot, as long as your characters are interesting.


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  #55  
Old February 11th, 2012, 6:53 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Some stories thrive on plot. Some stories thrive on character. If one is written well enough then it can carry the story. Neither is more important than the other.


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  #56  
Old January 10th, 2013, 4:00 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Most of the time I think characters are more important, because no matter how great the plot is, if I don't care about the characters or at least find them interesting, I'm not going to want to read it.


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  #57  
Old January 31st, 2013, 11:54 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

I think it really depends.

Ideally a story will have enough of both characters and plot to make both awesome, but which is more important probably depends on the story.

Some mystery novels would still work and be interesting if the Detective was a flatter character but would fall completely flat if the mystery was bad or stupid. In other stories it's the opposite.


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  #58  
Old July 15th, 2013, 5:20 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

I guess they're both important but I put most importance on characters. Interesting and well-written characters can bring even the simplest plots alive. When I think of my favorite part of a book, it's usually the characters that come to mind first. That's not to say plot isn't important though.


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