Yay Plots!

June 25, 2013 discussion post 12

So today I’m doing a little discussion post that I hope people will contribute to! I’m curious to see people’s response to this, as it has been on my mind for quite some time now. There’s no right or wrong answers 🙂

What do you look for in a book?
What draws you to a book? What keeps your interest? What makes you give a book those coveted 5 stars? Is it the characters, the plot, the love interest, the world building, or something else?
As I’ve noticed while hopping around the blogosphere, you can always tell what a reader likes about a certain book. My friend Cait (Notebook Sisters) always talks about how big the characters play a role in her review. If she doesn’t like the characters, star deduction! Some other reviewers are big on the realistic-ness (is that word? probably not) of the story. If they don’t think it can be related to real people/events, they don’t like the story.
While I think characters are MEGA important, I tend to be drawn into the world and the plot. Nothing is worse than a character who is annoying, unrealistic, whiny, and falls into insta-love, don’t get me wrong. Trust me, that irritates the mess out of me. But if I can’t imagine the world these characters live in, particularly in dystopian/post-apocalyptic/supernatural books, I have a hard time envisioning these things the characters take part in. I’m a huge visual person and if the author doesn’t provide enough details that I can’t imagine this world in my head, I have a hard time envisioning anything else that takes part in the story. 
The plot is probably the biggest thing for me! I read a book for the plot. If the plot is phenomenal and keeps my attention the whole way through, I can overlook character flaws. My favorite types of books are ones where the plot sucks me in and has me reading as fast as possible, page turning like no other. I like fast paced plots that, like I said, keep me eager to know more. If the plot lags, doesn’t make sense, or never has a climax, I become disinterested. If I become disinterested in what’s going on, I have a hard time liking anything else about the book. The characters may be fantastic and remind me of myself, but if I can never get into what said characters are doing, the book falls flat for me. I’ll probably put off reading it as long as possible. If the story starts off with this fabulous plot and the summary has me yearning to read the book, but then the MC falls in love and that becomes the main focus of the story, we have a problem. I love subplots! Let the new-found romance be a fantastic subplot addition to the main story! But at the point that the story line I was promised and so eager to read about from the summary ceases to exist in favor of a budding/conflicted romance, I get super disappointed. If I wanted to read about that then I would have picked up a book about it!
So, what is your favorite part of a book? What keeps you reading? What influences your rating the most? I’m curious to know!


12 Responses to “Yay Plots!”

  1. Meredith

    I’ve definitely been a plot person lately. And it has to be fast-paced. I’ve found myself skimming over pages of internal monologue and setting descriptions just to keep the pace moving forward. A lot of times I feel that the extra words aren’t necessary and just turn into the place where I can put the book down for the night. I’m not sure if that means I’ve developed a short attention span or I’m just going through a different book phase.

    Or maybe it’s because I’ve been reading books where authors can paint a clear picture of a character and/or setting in just a sentence or two. I’ve been amazed at how vividly I can see something without page after page of “showing me” what a character is like or where/when this character lives.

    Keeping the pace of the story moving is what keeps me turning the page. If the story stalls, then I find my place to take a break. So, after all that I’d say I’m a plot person 🙂

    • Christine P

      I do the same thing! The internal monologue tends to get in my way of all the action, especially if it really is unimportant. I kind of skim over dialogue between some of the characters, too, if it doesn’t have anything to do with what is going on or is rambling. Haha, I don’t think it means you have a short attention span! You just want to get to the good stuff 🙂

      Authors who can paint the picture without info-dumping are my FAVE. It seems like it’s an art, to be able to build a world in such a short amount of words. Not many people can do it, I’ve realized.

      Thanks so much for commenting! I loved reading your response! 🙂

  2. Julia :)

    For me it really depends on the book. If it’s a contemporary then the characters need to be solid or else I’ll lose all interest. However, if it’s a thriller/dystopian/sci-fi/fantasy then I have to be into the plot otherwise I tend to get bored even if the characters are fantastic.

    Also, like you said I think that the setting and world building can be equally important. If I can’t believe the world that the characters are living and interacting in then the whole thing just falls apart. I’m super visual too so that’s important, specifically for dystopian novels.

    Overall I would say that characters tend to matter to me more than plot and setting when it comes to my final rating. I could find a book completely engrossing, but if I look back and realize the characters SUCKED then I’ll be more likely to give it a lower rating than if I thought the plot and setting were just meh.

    Great post Christine! 😀

    Julia @ That Hapa Chick

    • Christine P

      I didn’t even think about contemporaries but I’d have to agree with you on that! The characters tend to be the heart of those kind of stories. Their development and growth are what the whole novel tend to be about. If they are annoying, I can’t keep reading!

      I’m always worried when a book gets a movie adaptation. After reading one of these dystopian novels, I have a clear and vivid idea of what I interpreted the world to look like. The movies either pretty much align with my imagination or they are so far off, after watching, I can only focus on the movie’s version, not the awesome one I pictured. Kind of frustrating!

      Thank you so much for commenting and tweeting about this 🙂 It made my night last night when I got the tweet after my plane landed. I loved your answer! It makes complete sense and I can see why if the characters are just terrible, you’d want to lower the rating. I probably end up subconsciously doing that, too 🙂

  3. Cait

    Aw! I’m grinning (kind of stupidly, yeah) at the mention. Thank yoooou! (My day has been made.) XD

    I definitely know what you mean about the plot. Yes, characters come number one for me, but if they are on the slack side, the plot CAN win me over. I do like books where I’m reading so fast, just to get to the end and FIND OUT WHO SURVIVES. Books like DIVERGENT. Ack. I could not read fast enough, because the action was wild and fast. Talk about sucking me in. And then I couldn’t put it on.

    Also, big no-no to when the subplots (especially if they’re just another cheesy romance) taking away from the main one. I find that in the dystopians. Fine, fall in love with the boy, but please, remember? You’re saving the world from imminent doom. Ah, sigh.

    • Christine P

      🙂 Glad to have made your day! I thought your take on books was interesting and would serve as a good example for what people like/don’t like about certain books!

      I got the idea to write about the subplots thing from your post about love triangles. I kind of went on a rambling streak when I commented on that and it sparked my idea for this post. Yet another reason why mentioning you was relevant 🙂 Haha exactly! The world falling apart is a bit more important right now! The boy will probably still be there later!

  4. Daire

    It’s all about balance! The most amazing, vivid characters are wasted in a badly described plot. The most magical, creative plots can be destroyed by irritating, two dimensional characters. The one thing I will say is that I don’t like anything to be obvious… both character and plot need to be revealed gradually, or there’s no point sticking it out until the end!

    The one thing that really, really puts me off is when people write all of their dialogue in dialects… it runs the flow!

    • Christine P

      YES. You said it perfectly! I probably should have said something about balance but my mind was racing faster than I could type and I didn’t even think about it. So glad you said something about it! I hate when I can guess everything that is going to happen right away. It takes away from the excitement of reading and discovering along with the characters. Some of the best books I’ve ever read I had no idea what was really going on until the very end. I like to keep guessing and second guessing along the way.

      That is a huge pet peeve of mine too! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting 😀

    • Christine P

      Exactly! I like to go on the journey and discover things right along with them. I’ve realized that I haven’t read many books from a male persepective. I need to find some! Do you have any good recommendations?

  5. Bellas Shelf

    Hmmm..I agree with the plot. I LOVE dystopians & I am all about the world building & the plot in those bad boys.
    If you have a dystop & the plot & world is sucky, you have no dystop.
    Certain styles NEED a strong plot to survive.
    Obviously pairing a strong plot with good characters makes for a highly enjoyable read.
    Like you I can gloss over annoying characters if the world is that amazing. Only to a point that is.
    Ill flip it. Ive read books with amazing characters and so-so to yukky plots and the book was an automatic DNF. The character along, no matter how good could not keep me going.
    Its def a combined effort. I think a few “IT” factors need to fall into place to make a book work.

    I see you are listening to “Of Poseidon” OMG I LOVED that Audio book. I am wondering if I would of loved it as much reading it.
    It would of been good, no doubt. I think the narrator made it come to life for me.
    Crewel was amazing as was Cinder via Audio. DO you download the free Audiobooks each week?
    Last week I got Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. First was Of Poseidon.

    This was a cool discussion post 🙂

    • Christine P

      I couldn’t have said that better myself! Dystopians, especially, have to have a fantastic plot. If they don’t, it defeats the whole purpose! Dystopians are all about a society where things are not as they seem, where discovery and defeating the bad aspects are the whole purpose. If any of this lacks, is boring, not well developed, it doesn’t matter how awesome those characters are, I can’t read it! I’ll feel like I’m having to trudge through the book, forcing myself to keep reading. And that’s no fun! There are too many good books out there!

      I am! This is the first audiobook I’ve actually ever listened to. It’s a learning experience, for sure. At the beginning, I had a hard time remembering what I just heard or what happened 15 minutes ago. But I think I’m getting better at carefully listening! I think the narrator is doing a very good job at making it interesting, and not monotonous. She is really good at using different voices! I still will probably end up reading the actual book, eventually. I got it from SYNC. Is that were you got the other ones? I’ve really wanted to read RAVEN BOYS! I loved her Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I wish I had known there was a free audiobook download of it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting 🙂

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