First off, Damn it feels good to be a Lannister.
Character versus story driven plots. More often than not, a book will fall into one of these two categories. Every once in a great while a book will be perfectly balanced and have a solid harmony of both elements. The characters are vibrant and the story is griping, making you stay up until 3 am reading a book wondering how smart-ass Johnny will cross the pit of alligator/shark hybrids with lasers taped to their heads. The books that I have read that have both pieces to the gigantic puzzle of a well-rounded novel nailed down are few and far between, but unforgettable.
I tend to favor story driven books more than character driven. I am a deep thinker and constantly mull large abstract concepts around in my head, as I feel most things are a matter of perception. I tend to dislike character driven plots because well, I don’t care about Johnny falling down and breaking his ankle at 13 when he is in front of a Greek God wondering how he can escape his impending demise by death of a 1000 sorta virgins with ice picks. Him breaking his ankle at 13 has zero relevance to him now and his situation. That being said, when a writer makes you feel and connect to the past happenings of a character and those events ripple out and affect them now, that is an entirely different animal.
I also tend to dislike lengthy explanations of a character’s feelings. I don’t need 15 pages to understand that Johnny is heartbroken over his mother’s death, often I think less is more. On the flip side, with story driven plots, I don’t care about an obscure village or cities history and current economic standing. Unless it has some relevance on the character or their quest/problem, leave it be.
Often I read books where the writer wants to fill in the coloring book of my imagination while I read their story. That takes out a lot of the fun, let me color it in! Not everything has to be explained and not everything has to be explored. Wonderment and open-ended questions drive our imagination taxi into our inner selves and let us populate that beautiful world with our own dragons and war-head flavored candy houses.
But understand something, just because I prefer story driven plots doesn’t mean I don’t have character driven books that I love dearly. This is more of an overall general assessment of my experience.
So what about you guys? What do you prefer, story or character driven plots?
An example of books that I feel has both elements in perfect balance; A Game of Thrones, Mistborn, Ender’s Game, Great Expectations.