Booking Through Thursday has a great question up this week:
What’s more important to you? Real, three-dimensional, fleshed-out fascinating characters? Or an amazing, page-turning plot?
(Yes, I know, they are both important. But if you had to pick one as being more important than the other?)
I think I’m gonna have to go with character. My question though, is whether or not this is actually a question. How many great stories have you read that didn’t also have amazingly drawn characters that got you emotionally invested in the plot? I can’t think of any. I’d think that it’s probably possible to have a successful narrative with fascinating characters and a weak plot, but it would be impossible to create a compelling story without an equally compelling character to drive its action.
I’m actually fighting the characterization battle myself right now, as I work on editing my NaNoWriMo novel into something non-gag-worthy and begin to block out a new story idea. One of the lessons NaNo taught me was how important characterization really is. I struggled through a lot of scenes because I was writing about one-dimensional characters that I couldn’t make myself care about. Next year I will be taking advantage of the one week of legal pre-planning to do some preliminary character background work, which will hopefully obviate that problem.
The fight with my NaNoWriMo novel has actually proved to be so daunting that I’ve started to prep a new idea, just to have something different to focus on. I’m working on a piece of urban fantasy with werewolves, based in the mythology of the Wild Hunt. I’ve always loved this idea and wanted to play with it in novel form, so I figured why not now? At the very least, it will keep my creative muscles in shape while I decide what to do with the NaNo=novel. Did I mention that my NaNo-novel STILL doesn’t have a title? Frustration.
So what do you guys think about character vs. plot? Anyone else struggling to turn their novels from NaNo into something?