That’s the answer I give whenever asked the timeless question, “which is more important, character or plot?” And invariably I get a look of skeptical confusion. But to be truthful, we must recognize that not only can one not exist without the other, but that one cannot be successful without the other…a good character can not carry a book without a stirring story to breathe in.
When we fall in love with a character, it is not only his or her instinctive traits that endear them to us, but their responses to the situations in which they find themselves. Quite frankly, Scarlett O’Hara (one of my favorite heroines of all time) would simply have been deemed a demanding diva if she acted the way she did under normal circumstances. If the war hadn’t broken out and if her struggle did not become one of survival for herself and her family, she would have become a character worthy of reality show depiction and abhorrence.
Jeanne du Bois, the protagonist of my recent historical fiction release, THE COURTIER’S SECRET, would have been considered no more than a spoiled brat were her father not a controlling and abusive man, did she not live in a society that afforded her no control over the course of her own life.