Which do you prefer? Character development? Plot? Or does the truth lie somewhere in the middle?
Last weekend I was attempting to read The Adamantine Palace (Stephen Deas), attempting being the operative word because I kept getting....well, stuck. I discussed this issue with the lovely and talented Meredith (Shayne), who is currently reading the same book, and came to the realization that the book was, for me, lacking...lacking in the in depth characterization and introspection that I had come to know and love from reading Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths series (yes, that series again *grin)*. The plot was present, yes, but....in the grand scheme of things it didn't matter to me. I wanted 3D characters. I wanted to get inside their heads and, well, wallow in their thoughts and feelings. (The phrase 'happy as a pig in mud' springs to mind :) So, in order to keep my sanity (because me not reading is a very bad thing) I gave up on The Adamantine Palace and picked up Josh Lanyon's The Hell You Say...and I'm currently wallowing in the characters! *sings* 'Oh Happy Day!'.
I think the plot versus character issue raised its head earlier this month when I was reading Lynn Flewelling's Luck in the Shadows. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book and I will definitely be reading the second book in the Nightrunner series - Stalking Darkness. But...I couldn't put my finger on what it was that was lacking while I was reading Luck in the Shadows...and now I can. I wanted to crawl inside the two main character's heads and I felt like I couldn't. I didn't feel connected to them...and I need that when I'm reading.
I was chatting about this with the lovely Kerry from Saving My Sanity yesterday. Kerry made the very good point that it does depend upon your frame of mind as to whether the lack of character or plot is...bearable. And she's right. If I'm in a...calm place, then I can usually accept less character development. But if I'm stressed I need that connection. Because...because it's that connection that allows me to escape from here and go...there *grin*
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that attempting to read The Adamantine Palace made me realize how much I love character-based books and how...uninterested I find plot-based books IF they don't have 3D characters. And I'm curious, where do you sit in the character versus plot debate?