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As a book reviewer it occurs to me as an author that there have been books that I've read and loved but had terrible plots. But because the characters were so truly amazing I was able to overlook it. What about you? Ever had any experience with that?
 

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Yes.  I recently read a book where I became remotely interested in the characters but the plot just wasn't for me.  I pushed through ONLY because I wished to know what happened to the characters.  It is not a book I wish to read again. 

Thanks for the question.
 

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I prefer character-driven stories, but I want at least a small thread of a plot. For example, James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small has great characters, but the "plot" that moves the "story" forward is his relationships with Helen and with Sigfried.
 

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Bri_Clark said:
As a book reviewer it occurs to me as an author that there have been books that I've read and loved but had terrible plots. But because the characters were so truly amazing I was able to overlook it. What about you? Ever had any experience with that?
Aren't both important? I don't want to read a book where interesting characters sit around and do nothing. And a hackneyed plot sucks the life out of a book, rendering what the characters do meaningless. Writing is a bit like juggling. If you can't keep the characters and the plot moving with vivid storytelling language, then the result will be little more than an inert mess, with a few glittering specks to interest a reader.
 

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I have read a few books where the plot was interesting but the characters were just boring or aggravating and I didn't bother finishing the book. I have, however, read a books were the plot was "eh" but the characters were people I could get to know and love and pushed past the plot to finish the book.
 

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I remember reading once that books can be broadly categorised as exclusive or inclusive.

Exclusive books concentrate on the world of the imagination, they exclude much of the external world.  Authors such as Jane Austen and Henry James are examples of this.

Inclusive authors such as Henry Fielding, Dickens, Tolstoy and Mark Twain include the whole world. 

I have seen it argued that the first might be more interested in character, the second more interested in plot. 

Yet, the best writers seem to push interesting characters into evolving and developing through the experiences they undergo, or the plot they live through.

 

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MartinLake said:
I remember reading once that books can be broadly categorised as exclusive or inclusive.

Exclusive books concentrate on the world of the imagination, they exclude much of the external world. Authors such as Jane Austen and Henry James are examples of this.

Inclusive authors such as Henry Fielding, Dickens, Tolstoy and Mark Twain include the whole world.

I have seen it argued that the first might be more interested in character, the second more interested in plot.

Yet, the best writers seem to push interesting characters into evolving and developing through the experiences they undergo, or the plot they live through.
I don't think the broad categories really work, and I have a hard time seeing Austen and James in the same group.

I don't think it's the size of the author's world that matters. It is what the writer does with the characters who inhabit that world.

And I guess that an author has to know his or her audience. Some readers want characters they can like, root for, approve, or strongly relate to. And the characters might be so important to the reader that they don't much care about anything else in the story. And yet, I don't these readers would buy a novel length work that was nothing but a series of character sketches.
 

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i have come to the opinion that it is plot that drives the reader while they read the book, but it is the characters which the reader remembers. A month after I read a book, I cannot remember the plot twists and the progression of events, but I remember the characters with whom I have formed a bond. So while I am reading something, I need to care about the characters, but it is the plot that motivates me to keep reading and move forward. But afterwards, the plot takes second place in my mind because it is the characters that I really take with me.
 

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Even the most mundane of plots can be captivating with the right characters. I prefer characters over plot, honestly. When I take a step back from the characters as you said you have, the plots are usually nothing extraordinary. But if the characters don't appear real to me, then the plot has little meaning.
 

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I'm having this problem with a book I'm reading right now by a well-known author. Interesting plot but he's spent the better part of 100 pages introducing character after character after character. Put a few characters into action then introduce, then more action don't just introduce a bunch of people. Sorry, that's boring. I'm about to give up.
 

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It's easy to say "Character" because that's what we read for... but imho, you CAN'T have one without the other.  It just doesn't work that way.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald said: "Character is Action." (or maybe it was "Action is Character.")

Plot is character.

Camille
 

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I would prefer both, but if I could only choose one, characters. When I start trying to think up my own scenes for characters in someone else's story because the character-development is not strong enough for me, I know the author is losing my attention.
 

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As a reader I've been drawn in by both. Good characters can keep me reading a book with a lousy plot, and there are a lot of thrillers with sketchy characters but page-turning plots. The books that I treasure, keep and reread, however, are the ones with characters and environments that I like to revisit like old friends even though I know the plot. So I'd say if I had to choose one it would be characters.

That said, as both a reader and writer, if I have to choose, the book is less than it could/should be.
 

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To be honest I don't think anyone really endures reading The Trinity Saga: The Pocket Watch because of the plot, truth be told; I think the only thing that gets anyone to the next book is Imogen & Lucius' story arc, and a few select supporting characters like Necklan and Leonalia. Without them I think it'd be doomed :p
 

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Characters.

And when I write, the characters dictate the story, I don't "make it up." It is because of who they are and what they do that "plot happens."
 

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This happens to me a lot when I'm reading, but usually one of them intrigues me enough to keep reading. As a writer, I'm more character based.
 

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kempton.mooney said:
i have come to the opinion that it is plot that drives the reader while they read the book, but it is the characters which the reader remembers. A month after I read a book, I cannot remember the plot twists and the progression of events, but I remember the characters with whom I have formed a bond. So while I am reading something, I need to care about the characters, but it is the plot that motivates me to keep reading and move forward. But afterwards, the plot takes second place in my mind because it is the characters that I really take with me.
Great points.
 
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