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Which is more important: the plot or the characters?



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  #21  
Old October 26th, 2009, 4:29 pm
Love4Luna  Female.gif Love4Luna is offline
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

In my opinion, there is no plot without good characters.


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  #22  
Old October 26th, 2009, 4:39 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Love4Luna View Post
In my opinion, there is no plot without good characters.
Neither good characters without a plot.


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  #23  
Old December 20th, 2009, 8:45 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

I agree with Love4Luna. You can't have anything good of both if one or the other isn't good.


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  #24  
Old December 20th, 2009, 5:37 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Both are important, but for me characters are more important. Even if a story has no plot, I'll read it if I like the characters because I just like seeing them interact, think, etc.


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  #25  
Old January 8th, 2010, 1:38 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

The characters are the heart and soul of a book, which is what makes a book so memorable (for me, anyways).

Good writing and plot are very important as well, they're sort of the binding the weaves the characters together.


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  #26  
Old February 5th, 2010, 9:04 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

I have asked me the same question lots of times...

I believe there is no rules about that.

I love books becoz of the plot
And I have read books with interesting characters too and I am very much agree the characters are the most important thing.

But characters doesn´t work if the plot isn´t good enought to me...

So, it all depends.


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  #27  
Old March 21st, 2010, 9:44 pm
BoredMarauder  Female.gif BoredMarauder is offline
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

You don't have to have a plot, although I would suggest one. No plot, eh, boring story. No characters, well, then I hope you're not a fiction writer. And if you are, don't write anything else. The plot is important. It thickens as you go along. But characters are important as well. Basically, if you're writing fiction, both are important. Neither is all that important.


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  #28  
Old May 15th, 2010, 11:23 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

i believe that the plot and the characters and the plot are equally important. that's all I'll say.


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  #29  
Old June 24th, 2010, 1:46 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

In many stories, I prefer the parts in which the characters are interacting and going about their everyday lives. So if the story isn't well-written enough, and the plot adds nothing to the characters and pushes their personalities aside, I will get very bored, very quickly. So to me, characters are always more important, but I think it's a personal preference. But I absolutely cannot care about a plot if I'm not attached to the characters. I'm less likely to be interested in something with dull characters even if the plot is amazing.

In my own writing, I struggle with this because I really, really love characters. I spend so much time developing them and making them interact that my plots tend to deal with internal battles or ordinary conflicts between ordinary people more than anything else, but I guess that's okay because I write realistic fiction, and life doesn't have to be "epic." Right now I'm working on a Harry Potter next generation fanfic, though, and I'm trying to vaguely follow the tone and themes of the original books. So while Voldemort is gone and I don't need a "save the world" plot, I still want to write seven stories, each of which has a unique plot. And guess what? I have a whole wiki full of information about my characters.


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  #30  
Old June 25th, 2010, 5:15 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

It really depends on the type of story you're writing. In the early novel (particularly the picaresque and the epistolary novel) and in some postmodern work, plot often drives character more than character drives plot. As the novel (and later, the short story) became more psychological and realistic, character development came to the fore, and plot was often driven by character rather than the other way around.

I'm fine with either. It depends on what you're trying to do. Thomas Pyncheon's The Crying of Lot 49 makes plot preeminent. And (since flatness is part of the point), it does fine with flat characters. But that certainly would not work with a story that is attempting character roundness/depth (as opposed to intentional character flatness).


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  #31  
Old July 15th, 2010, 4:56 am
daniellaaarisen  Female.gif daniellaaarisen is offline
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

For me, this is a remarkably easy answer-- character. The plot means nothing unless a reader feels an extreme pull towards the individuals within the novel. Examples: Nabokov's Lolita and Janet Fitch's White Oleander. Both of these books have very interesting plots, but the characters completely redefine the stories. Nabokov makes you sympathize with a child molester and therefore question your own sense of morality while Fitch's novel is completely based upon the codependent fragility of a mother's relationship with her daughter. There are millions examples of this... Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (what would that book be without the evolution of James Gatz?), Ellison's The Invisible Man, everything ever written by Shakespeare, specifically Hamlet.... the list goes on.


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  #32  
Old July 15th, 2010, 9:16 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

I'd say that characters are generally more important than the plot. When I have no interest in, or dislike, a character, the book usually doesn't interest me. A good character can make even the most mundane things interesting.
Like I think that Holden Caulfield is a very believable character, but I didn't like The Catcher in the Rye. I didn't really like Holden. I mean, like I said, he was believable but I didn't like him. I couldn't care less if he thought practically every person he knew was lousy. It depressed me alot (but based on the book, maybe it was supposed to depress me...).
Francie Nolan a wonderful character. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a very, very sad book, but I really felt for Francie. I laughed when things were going good for her, and I sobbed uncontrollobly (literally) when they weren't. She was getting bread from he bakery, and I was hanging off her every word.

But mostly I think that books depend - not on the plot or the characters - but on how the author writes. If I don't like the style of writing, then I won't bother to get to know the characters or to stick around for the plot to kick in.


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  #33  
Old July 20th, 2010, 9:44 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Gosh...well, in my opinion, both plot and characters are necessary for a great story...but, if it came to the crunch, I would say, you have to make sure your characters are extremely well rounded before you even begin to think of the plot.

Then again, it can become highly iritating (for me) if I read a book which has amazing, flawed, realistic, outstanding characters...but are "stuck" in a stationary world; that is, they exist in a plot that does not satisfy readers by letting them develop and grow as characters.

I think, Harry Potter both succeeds in having some of the most relatable characters in fantasy literature and with a dynamic, gripping plot.

So...when planning to write a story, I'd say this: Let your characters fly off the page- let them become real to you...then, think of a plot where we can see them take off; grow, mature, develop and so on.


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  #34  
Old July 21st, 2010, 3:06 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Both. In the best stories they should compliment each other, and neither should be sacrificed for the sake of the other.


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  #35  
Old July 21st, 2010, 3:15 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

I think the characters, for they can make the plot look better by their development throughout a movie and their developing personalities.


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  #36  
Old August 2nd, 2010, 2:32 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

I think that it depends very much on what you're trying to do.

A plot driven story is about the story, the pace, the action and the events. Harry Potter is a good example of that. It's a page turner of sorts, where the mystery keeps you reading (so, do you read it because you want to read about Harry, or read about what happens to Harry?). The characters are a supporting cast for the story, and so you sacrifice depth of character.

A character driven story is one where the character is the story. In that case, you sacrifice pace and action as the pace and action is determined by the character, not the plot. In this case, the plot is the supporting cast. The anime 'Noir' can be seen as an example, where the relationship between Mirielle and Kirika is the focus of the story, rather than their battle against the enemy. In Harry Potter, the focus is Harry's fight against Voldy.

Something in between would be Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. The characters fit into the plot, but the series is so long that entire sections can be devoted to a character and that character only. So you get an in-depth study of a character (thoughts, motivations, emotions, past, etc) that goes beyond a plot-driven story.

So, I think that it depends on what you want the story to be about. Do you want tell a character's story, or do you want to tell a story? If you want to tell a story, you will focus on what happens and the characters, while not poor or shallow, will fade somewhat into the background and the plot will be foregrounded. This may create the impression that the character's are 'bad' but that's not necessarily the case. If you want to tell a character's story, then their thought process, relationships, personal issues/struggles are going to be foregrounded, and the plot will fade into the background. This does not mean that there is no plot, but that the plot is not the primary focus. If you want to do both, you run the risk of neither working, so I would think most authors would avoid trying to do both.


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  #37  
Old August 2nd, 2010, 5:22 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Here's my thought:
The only time I ever put a book down without finishing is not usually because the book has no plot, it's because the characters are lifeless. So, I always try to concentrate more on the characters even though I really enjoy coming up with the plot.
Most of the time you'll keep reading if the plot is a little off as long as you like the characters. This goes for every type of narration, whether 1st person or 3rd.


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  #38  
Old September 5th, 2010, 2:29 am
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Both are equally important, but you need believeable characters, and you don't need a plot to have characters. XD Oh logic how I defy you. Both are indispensable my dear.


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  #39  
Old September 5th, 2010, 3:17 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

Characters.

Purely because I can read a book with a crumby plot but entertaining characters but if I hate the characters I can't get into the book no matter how good the plot is.

Example: Thomas Covenant. He is the worst, most-boring, unlikeable, un-interesting character ever invented. Even though the book has got some really good ideas and seems like it'd be good, the fact that the main character sucks so badly managed to stop me reading.

Not just me, on a thread on Absolute Write about worst characters 80% of replies were Thomas Covenant.

So yeah, characters by far are the most important!


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  #40  
Old October 8th, 2010, 2:54 pm
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Re: Which is more important: the plot or the characters?

I've just been reading the BBC's guidelines for aspirant TV or radio writers and they say that you should always start with the characters - that good plots grow out of characters and that if you start with a plot or a funny situation and then create the characters second they will seem formulaic and undeveloped. I've read a lot of other advice-for-writers guides that say that, too.

BUT...I'm not sure I agree as I have to say that nothing bores me more rigid than entirely character-based novels that don't really go anywhere. In my own reading, I am always more drawn to plot-driven books and, although I think a good story will have both, if I had to choose between a good plot with weak characters or a weak plot with strong characters, I'd go for the former every time. But, then again, I'm a complete Philistine!


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