Thursday, January 7, 2016

Book Banter 7: Plot vs. Character

Okay everyone! Time for another Book Banter! And we picked a hard one this time: Plot vs. Character! Which team are you on?

Because as we all know, the two elements of a story work hand in hand to make it a good book, but we also all know that we tend to enjoy one over the other. Or can give one a break but never the other one. Am I making sense?

Of course, Jenny and I are on opposite teams... AGAIN... when it comes to these two parts of a story. Here's what we have to say about it:

Suey says:

I remember at one point if someone were to ask me if I was a plot person or a character person, I’d fret and wring my hands and hum and ha and stress about the answer. That was years ago and since then I’ve learned that I lean much more toward the character side of things over the plot side of things. (Not say one is more important than the other… because as we all know, a story needs both.)

Anyway… my three reasons:

  1. I’ve noticed that when others complain “but nothing is happening!” I’m like… “really? But stuff IS happening… the characters are talking, right?”  So I guess my first reason is so what if nothing is happening as long as the characters are relating… meaning… they are bantering, talking, discussing, interacting, figuring stuff out, thinking, worrying, pondering. All those things ARE something. Which means… something IS happening! Was that a clear reason? Let me restate: Characters interacting is something happening!
  2. Characters make me happy. Sometimes plot goes over my head. Sometimes I miss the details and the ins and outs and the complicated nature of what’s going down… but I GET the characters! They fascinate me. They seem like real people. They are awesome, cool, vulnerable, crazy, swoony, and so many other things. They are the heart of the story and the part of the story that make me interested, much more so than the plot ever does.
  3. The questions that often arise in plot… where did that dead body come from and who killed it? Or who’s going to win the war and how? Or why is he going on this journey and will he get there?  etc etc.... they make me lose interest. If those questions start being discussed in too much detail I get bored and start skimming to see if I can find where it “gets back to the story” which for me is when the people show up again! To restate: plot questions are boring!

Of course, I enjoy a fast paced, moving, crazy good plot! Of course I do! BUT… the people are where it’s at!

Jenny says:

Three Reasons That Plot Rules!

1. Even if the characters suck, if the plot is good you keep reading! I just read a book where this very thing happened. The characters were, meh, but the plot was so gripping I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down! I was riveted. Now, sure, ideally one wants good characters they can root for. Even just one but admit it, if the plot is speeding along at a breakneck speed, you're enjoying it.

2. Character driven books are so boring! I've read far too many books where NOTHING happens! It's all character development, character angst...blah blah blah! Character driven books are like watching reality TV. It's all talk and drama and I, for one, get so bored!

3. Plot is everything!  Conflict, even if it's about characters, is plot! And we all know we need conflict in a book. Plot is what keeps us reading. If we love our MC but she has nothing standing in her way, no conflict, nothing happening, it's boring. Who want's to read about that? Not me!

(Disclaimer: I love characters and they are important to me, but if I had to choose, I'd choose plot.)


So there you have it! Two viewpoints on the ongoing discussion of the question, which do you enjoy most: plot or character??!! (Don't forget to give Jenny's blog a visit today too and see the discussion over there!)

So, which side of the fence do you land on? Which team do you root for? Which book do you find less boring, the character driven one or the plot driven one? Let us know! Give us your reasons! Banter back with us!


  1. I love amazing developed characters and an awesome complex plot! You really do need both for an awesome book, but I do lean on the plot side. I don't like it when nothing is happening and the characters are just talking. Don't you need a good plot to develop characters and move them along in their journey?

  2. I'm with you, Suey. As long as the characters are interacting, then I say something is happening. I want to root for characters. If I don't like the characters, I probably won't like the book.

  3. If I had to pick one I would probably go with plot. I think it is because I like to see characters changed by their story and that can be more subtle with character driven stories. But like you both said, you really need both to tell a great story.

  4. Suey I'm on your side for this one :) I love books where "nothing" happens as long as the characters are fun. Especially if there's a decent romance involved. And if I don't like any of the characters - like Girl on the Train - I don't usually like the book.

  5. I can be more in the mood for a plot-driven or character-driven novel at different times, but I think character driven novels are more my thing. All of your points that made you come down on that side resonated with me :)



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