“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?)”
As usual the question comes from Deb at Booking Through Thursday.
[Sigh] I am never any good with “either/or” kind of questions!
I think that an intriguing plot is often important to draw the reader into a book. But at the end of the day, it is usually characters that leave the lasting impression.
I’d also say that in the best stories, the plot serves to gradually form and/or reform the reader’s image of the main characters. Sometimes we are deceived and undeceived about the true nature of at least one of them. Sometimes we get to follow them for a long time and see the major events that form them. Sometimes we are introduced to them at a later point in their life and get to know more in flashbacks.
I’m trying to think of books from which I retain an idea of the “plot” but not the characters… Certain classic adventure stories come to mind, like those by Jules Verne. A more contemporary example would be Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. (However, I wasn’t even that impressed with the plot!)