Discussion: Plot Vs. Character?

I am always shocked when someone says they care more about the plot of the book than the characters. This boggles my mind to no end, because what’s the point if you don’t connect with the characters? I plan to do another post soon about the hero’s story arc, and to me that arc makes or breaks a story. But of course, I have to wonder…

tonystark-too-much-to-askI mean seriously, if you make me love characters enough, I will devour scenes where they just sit around and talk, but I have to admit, plot is imperative to make the story move forward. Can the character have an arc without a real journey? But what do the journey and the arc matter if you don’t even care about the character in the first place?

princessbride-intellectRecently I read The Body Electric by Beth Revis, and I found I had the same problem with it that I did with Across the Universe: the characters felt so bland even though they were in an intriguing world with high stakes. But since I didn’t care about the characters too much, what difference did it make? And then right after I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Of course it’s an unfair comparison, but let’s look at it anyway: I had gotten to know these characters and were already attached to them, but through their circumstances they grow leaps and bounds just in this one book. And when I read Shadow Scale, I was thrown into an interesting world with characters I already knew and loved, once again, but the arc felt so static. What was the point of the journey, ultimately? I really had no idea.

Characters help connect me to the story. The plot moves the characters through an arc. And if the arc is successful and I see positive change on the other side (or really well executed negative change), then I am ultimately satisfied with the story.

plot-vs-charactersDo you consider yourself more of a plot person or a character person? What do you think matters most in a story/character arc?