Friday, 12 September 2014
What Novels are REALLY About
What is it you like so much about that book?
Chances are, it's a character. Sure, books fall into two categories--plot-based and character-based. I know people who detest character-based book "because the plot doesn't go anywhere". (Fair enough; I understand.) Consider this: in plot-based books, the plots are going somewhere for whom? The characters. They're the most important part.
Ultimately, books are all about the characters. It's to the characters we relate, we cheer for, we follow and we have our hopes, our dreams, our anxieties. We don't emotionally invest in plots. We invest in characters.
I've belonged to an Online Writing Workshop for the past, oh dozen years or so. I've had the opportunity to read hundreds of chapters of dozens of books. Those books that are memorable, even years later, are those that had strong, well-rounded characters.
In the workshop I came across chapters that had vast sweeping plots of beautiful complexity and very forgettable characters. When this happened, the whole book fell flat. The plot couldn't save it. It just couldn't keep my interest. I couldn't invest.
Characters are everything and need to be well-developed. Give me a book with a richly-developed character going places, and I'm yours.
Her Grace acknowledges your mileage may vary. She dares you to tell her about a book you love where any of the characters aren't terribly memorable.