Sunday, April 12, 2015

Plot or Character?






Several weeks ago, anticipating a "snow day" later in the week, I checked out three DVDs from my local library. Two were based on a best selling novels (that I hadn't read) and turned out to be big box office hits with Oscar nominations.

While the plots were intriguing, the characters were drab. Basically, I found myself asking "why should I care what happens to these people?" One story was a murder mystery, with the main character being so cruel and nasty, I concluded the small town was better off without her.


Perhaps I can only speak for myself, but when I'm reading a book or writing a story, it's all about the characters. In my writers/readers' mind, you create characters people care about and then build a situation around them.

Obviously, if the DVDs I had checked out -- and their books -- were hits, not everyone thinks like me. Which leads me to ask a question this week. What attracts you to a story? Plot? Or characters?


Have a great week, Everyone!




(photo c/o gtrfrkbob at morgueFile.com)

18 comments:

  1. Hi Angela--
    It was easy to figure out which book/movie you were talking about. I've heard enough about it that I will not read the book nor watch the movie. There have been so many spoilers floating around that I already know the ending anyway.

    Characters that readers can bond with are so important to a good book. I think readers are more forgiving of weak spots in a plot if the characters grab them. I also think that villainy for the sake of villainy makes for caricature rather than character. The best villains are those that have at least a small amount of humanity in them so that readers can at least understand why they do what they do.

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    1. Your comment on "villainy" reminds me of a discussion during one of my college Literature classes. I've always had a sentimental spot in my heart for Heathcliff in Wurthing Heights, and my professor thought I needed my head examined. Thanks, Lois, for visiting today!

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  2. Oh, I love this discussion! For me, it's all about the characters. I'm reading some of Sir Doyle's early Sherlock Holmes stories. Granted, Doyle's stories have amazing plots. But the books are really about Watson and Holmes. They are funny, clever, and sometimes even silly. It's amazing to read about the two of them, even when Holmes is being an annoying know-it-all. They pull the story together, not necessarily the plot, which, as I stated above, is amazing. But, oh, how I love Holmes and Watson. Such good reading!

    Another great post, Angela! Hugs!

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    1. My sister is a big Sherlock Holmes' fan. Her dream vacation is to go to London and see the Sherlock Holmes museum. Thanks, Red, for stopping by today!

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  3. I prefer when I like, understand or completely loath the characters as in I want to smack them. Fantastic topic Angela.

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    1. From reading your book reviews, I know how involved you can get with a book (smile!). Thanks for visiting, Kimba, and welcome back from vacation!!!

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  4. The characters are what drive my books. I love watching them develop, something they often seem to do on their own. I’ll write a few pages and later think, my hero would never do that. So I go back and rewrite. When I start with the plot, my characters often rebel and say they won’t do that in my story. But I do love it when a plot and characters really work well. It makes the book twice as interesting.

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    1. Don't you love it when your characters tell you what to do? (smile!). Thanks for stopping by, Marion!

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  5. Hi, Angela! The characters have to be interesting. It's their conflict which drives the plot forward which enables them to be challenged and to grow. I actually get my inspiration for a new story from a piece of dialogue and the characters begin babbling.

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    1. I feel a reader needs to like that characters to care about whether those characters can resolve the conflict. Thanks for stopping by, Vicki!

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  6. I reread novels for characters & dialogue, never the plot.

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    1. Snappy or witty dialogue will grip a reader. Thanks for visiting, Morgan!

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  7. I'm obviously the weird one here, as usual. (lol) When reading the blurb of the book, I'm immediately attracted to the plot, and that's what drives me to purchase it. Once I start reading, i really get into the characters to make it become even more real. If that doesn't happen, I'll lose interest. In movies, however, the opposite is true. I check out the characters or actors who will be in it first, and that's what drives me to watch the movie, hoping it will live up to the hype. Great topic! Hugs...Ro

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    1. Publishers obviously think as you do, RO, which is why they ask authors to come up with a book's blurb. It's the blurb that sells the book. Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

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  8. Wow, this is a hard one but I think for me... plot! great post :)

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    1. Most people would agree with you, Daniela. It is the plot that draws readers to a book. Thanks for stopping by today!!

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  9. I love a good plot,this is a great topic by the way.

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    1. Cindy, I'm glad you stopped by and enjoyed our discussion. Publishers, obviously, agree with you about the plot which is why they ask authors to write blurbs. Thanks so much for visiting and sharing!

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