What’s Most Important to You? (4)

So, we’ve come to the last post in our series about what’s important to you as a reader and/or writer, when you are experiencing stories.
 
And we’ve come to the feature that is the most important to me…characters!

Yes, characters. I love a good set of characters. And for me, characters are by far the thing that makes or breaks a story for me. Great setting, beautiful writing, wicked plot, boring or bland characters? Not going to keep me interested. But amazing characters in a world without a terribly vivid setting or much of a plot…I am perfectly fine with that!

My favourite stories tend to be ones with only a few cast members. I like getting to know characters, seeing their likes and dislikes and odd habits and inner turmoils. And this seems like something really basic when I write about it now, but not everyone can do this. In fact, a lot of people can’t do this. At least to my level of satisfaction. I want to get deep into character lives, and I want those lives to be interesting. Not superhero, prize-winning, grand adventures interesting. Just loves sock puppets, and gets sick when eating mozzarella cheese, and has a curious way of attracting the attention of raccoons kind of interesting. Which I believe everyone can be. And I want to see it!

This came up when I searched for writing fiction characters. And I thought it was intriguing.
Photo From: www.writingforward.com

I read a lot of stories that I just don’t care about, or don’t understand the hype about. And usually, it amounts to me not liking the characters. I have to like the characters to like the story, and this is actually fairly problematic. I can’t get into stories where I don’t connect with the characters, and I think that’s probably why I don’t fall in love with much that I read (but also why when I do fall for a story, I fall crazily and then cling on for dear life!)

I don’t have to like every character. In fact, sometimes it’s great not to like certain characters. But I need to connect with at least one, and probably a few. And it’s best if I can get on board with everyone in some way, even if I like the evilness of a character, or enjoy how utterly annoying someone is supposed to be. They don’t all have to be nice! They just have to be engaging.

So there you have it. My number one aspect. Characters are by far the most important thing to me as a reader, and as a writer. Writing style and plot battle for second and third place, and setting is the least important. There are always exceptions to all of these, but generally, this is what makes me tick when I experience stories.

What about you? How do you feel about characters? Do you need to feel invested in them, or are you okay not caring what they do or say, as long as you enjoy the rest of the story? 

2 Responses so far.

  1. Deshipley says:
    I'm with you on this 100%. "Yes to that!" from start to finish. Compelling characters are king. 😀
  2. Mere Joyce, I nominated you for an award. Check out my blog if you wish to participate. http://cathrinaconstantine.blogspot.com/

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