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Are characters or plot more important in fiction?

What’s more important: plot or characters? It’s a debate that can spark fierce opinions on either side, but I agree with Lou Aronica, the veteran publisher, editor and Authors A.I. advisor, who said it best in our recent live event:

“Great characters can carry a reader through terrible plots, overwhelmingly more than a great plot can save terrible characters.”

Absolutely. When I think of my favorite novels, it is the characters who are most vivid in my memory more than the events of the book. And there is no disputing what Lou points out in the first few minutes of our recent Facebook Live conversation: Characters build an emotional bond between the reader and the story. That’s an important role!

So, how do authors make sure that this important connection occurs? How do you avoid cookie-cutter characters? How do the pros humanize characters, stay consistent and avoid one-dimensional characterizations?

We answer all of these questions and more in the video chat above. If you enjoy it, check out our other First Draft Friday chats. And please weigh in by adding your thoughts in the comments!

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Sybil Shae
1 month ago

I so loved this edition of First Draft Friday!!!! We’ve all heard character development is super important…. knowing them intimately and putting that to work for you…. perfect. I’ve heard so many explanations about story arc, development, flow, etc. rarely has this been explained in a way that helps. Really knowing characters and walking in their shoes can help with the whole story in a way that really makes sense. I’ve put my writing on the back burner for so long, the plot and arc halted completely… now it’s flowing along nicely.Thanks Lou and Allesandra, I cannot wait to finish… Read more »

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