Let’s talk bookish: plot or characters – which is more important and why?

It’s the busiest season of the year, I am feeling the stress. Anyways, this tag hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books is one of my absolute favorite and today’s theme is absolutely killing me. Today, I’ll be discussing the importance of characters vs. plot!

Why the plot is more important than the characters

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For me, a great plot is my first absolute must-have for a good book. The writing, the atmosphere and even the characters can be the best I’ve ever witnessed, but if the plot is not great, I won’t give the book more than 3 stars.

I’ve always been a person that needs a gripping book – if the book doesn’t flash me with what it has to tell, then I have absolutely no problem with forgetting it ever existed. Some people value character above all, but I need a good story: action, intrigue, unknown intentions, politics and conspiracy. I’m a lover of complex, intense plots with everything happening right after another. I need something to happen to be absolutely hooked and that’s why I’m devoted to the plot.

Great plot with bad characters – why the book can still be good

This often happens – the plot is absolutey stunning but the characters aren’t worth mentioning and remembering. Either they’re the stereotypical/trope characters such as the pretty girl who doesn’t know she’s pretty or the bad boy who’s had a difficult childhood which is why he’s so mean on the outside but he’s actually soft – see, that’s lame. We need something more.

But, you see, the book can still be fast-paced, have intrigues and a great plot even with vanilla characters. Often mystery books (not the best ones) have a great story but the characters are see-through and just scratch the surface of opportunities. They can still be entertaining because they contain suspense.

Why I’m not convinced by a bad plot but great characters

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I’ve had this multiple times: I really connected with the characters, they were deep, I could relate to them, they were funny and I absolutely loved them – but nothing happened. The characters can be awesome, but the every day life of an awesome character is just as boring as the every day life of a boring character – because it’s the daily life without any special things happening. We all shower, eat breakfast and go to work/school. And if there is no murderer lurking behind the shower curtain, if no-one is being killed at school and you’re the main suspect – then I’m simply not interested.

Examples: Circe by Madeline Meyer; The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

I almost didn’t finish Circe or at least had a very hard time finishing because it had no concrete plot line and just went on and on and I never finished Maggie Stiefvater’s series and it had the best characters – I just couldn’t stand the slow-paced plot anymore!

Conclusion!

So, the plot is the most important thing as it’s what makes the book gripping. Characters are important, but just not as so very important. I hope my argumentation was understandable for everyone! Tell me, what’s your opinion on characters vs. plot – tell me in the comments! Happy reading and have a great Friday!

Author: Blogger Books

I'm a huge fan of Draco Malfoy, I love scones and tea time, I don't like horror movies and obviously I'm a huge book nerd.

20 thoughts on “Let’s talk bookish: plot or characters – which is more important and why?”

  1. Wow we have such opposite views 😜😜😜 I’m totally about characters… I can be okay with a moderately boring plot if I’m in love with the characters …
    Nice to know we love each other’s reviews and blog posts despite looking for different things in the same books 😊😊😊

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  2. I think without good characters plot is easily ruined. I don’t read books as just a series of events. There are plenty of great plot concepts out there that are just flat out useless without well written characters.

    However I am a character reader, so we may just have opposing viewpoints.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I totally understand you! A good book is not just a good plot but a combination of plot and characters (and writing of course). But I can’t finish a book unless it has a good plot because I get super bored – no matter how awesome the characters are… I do love characters though hahahah! Happy reading!

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  3. I had always assumed I was first but I got to say in the past year or so especially I’ve come to the conclusion its characters for me. That doesn’t mean you can have a bad plot or no plot nut good characters can often save an iffy plot.

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    1. You are completely right! There are a lot of books with not the best plot where the characters added 1 or 2 stars (in my review). However, I feel like a really bad plot can’t be saved every time because sometimes I just get sooo bored and just have to stop reading!
      Happy reading!!!

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  4. You make wonderful points, and this is a lovely discussion. I however am definitely more for characters than plot. I totally agree that a book can drag if the plot is nonexistent even though the characters are fun, but I dread reading a fabulous plot with characters that do not do it any service. If I am not connecting to the characters then I am just angry the whole way through the book XD I feel like they don’t deserve to star in it. I experienced this with a recent book I read where the plot had potential, but it was constantly weighed down by the characters. I feel that if the voice and perspective of the narratives are not working for me, I just won’t enjoy any of the action!

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    1. Thanks so much! And I totally get your point of view! I also adore well written characters, but I can’t bring myself to finish a book if the plot is really bad because I just get so bored… and you’re also right, great characters but a bad plot can be ok sometimes, the characters will definitely add one or two stars in my review… and what was the recent book you read? I really want to know 🤩🤩
      Happy reading !!

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  5. I totally agree!! A good plot can save the book for me, but good characters and a boring plot is the most annoying thing lol. It’s disappointing to hear that The Raven Cycle was all characters and not much plot since it’s on my TBR. But maybe hopefully I’ll like it 🙂 Great post!!

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  6. This is a really interesting discussion. I would agree with you that plot is more important (but I obviously love great characters too!). I think some genres tend towards one or the other, like you mentioned that mystery often has a great plot, but weaker characters. Contemporary often focuses more on the characters. I think the best books balance the two nicely, but as a fantasy lover, I live for the adventure!

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting! I totally agree with you! I am also a fantasy lover and maybe that’s exactly why I don’t tend to enjoy contemporary books as much or at least why I always need a great fantasy book after finishing a contemporary one… I totally agree with the fact that the best books are a nice balance, that’s 100% true! And I also live for the adventures! What are you currently reading? I’m reading Queen of Nothing and I am IN LOVE with the plot!

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      1. I’M READING QUEEN OF NOTHING TOO! I’d held out on the series before it was finished, so I’ve binged the whole series this week. AND YES, the plot is amazing!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahhhhh! I bet that was suuuuuper amazing! I read the first two books when they first came out and it was soooooooooo frustrating to not be able to continue!!! Especially because I had no idea about Cardan’s intentions…

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