Most people have particular tastes in books as far as genre is concerned. I do as well, although I am a fairly eclectic reader. Books on my shelves range in genre from thriller, mystery, to literary fiction, to cheesy romance. And even though the majority of my interest remains in women’s fiction and romance, I like a variety in my reading life. But what makes the BEST novel for me? That’s easy. Connecting with the characters.
There are different elements to every book. Plot and characters are two of the main elements. Character driven novels are those books where the basis of the story revolves around the characters and their development throughout the story. They usually make some sort of transformation. Plot driven novels are those in which the plot and/or a series of events drive the novel and characters, over any other factor. There are also novels–more literary–which are slower moving, but are written with beautiful prose and often have meaning beneath the surface of the story, in which the author is trying to send a message.
It’s no surprise that my favorite of the above are character driven novels. Women’s Fiction and romance are mostly based on character development and interaction. Just as most thrillers, suspense, horror, and mysteries are plot driven. For me, what makes a good book is the ability to fall in love with the characters and go on an emotional journey with them. This emotional attachment to the characters, for me, is what makes me most invested in a story and is what leaves me thinking about them long after the novel has ended.
So, here’s my question for you: What type of novel do you like best? What keeps you reading and sucks you in? What do you like to see in a story?
It would be my guess that men prefer plot over characters, but I would love to find out. Let me know what YOU think…are characters, plot, or writing style (prose), more important to you?