Friday, April 20, 2007


Friends or Storylines??
Why do you get all excited when you see a new release from a favorite author? For the fresh story or to visit with old friends? I'm definitely a character driven reader. Evanovich? Can't get enough of Plum. Churchill? I love Jane Jeffry even as I'm becoming Jane Jeffry (getting older, you know.) Rita Mae Brown? I adore Sneaky Pie and Harry Haristeen. I read for characters far more than for story.
I started this love for character driven series out of college. I lived down the street from the Newton Corner library. I'd get out of work at Hill, Holliday advertising, trudge onto the bus and ride home, passing the library every day. I grabbed a book from the mid-1960's about a cop named Luis Mendoza, written by Dell Shannon. I read the first book. Then the second. And on and on. Luis and his crowd became like friends. I was fresh out of college. Had a boyfriend with a wandering eye who wasn't always a reliable date and felt kind of lonely. Reading gobbled up empty hours and introduced me to many new friends.
I haven't been so bold as to think my book could become a series. That's just crazy talk when you're a newbie like I am. But I have to admit, I hope my characters come to life for readers in such a way that when they close the book, they're eager to return again.
So how about it? Character or story? What's your choice?

7 comments:

Anissa said...

I'm definitely attracted to characters. There's a lot I'll forgive, plot wise, as long as the characters come to life.

And it's just my two cents, but your voice shines on this blog, I can only imagine your characters will come alive as well. Can't wait to have the chance to purchase your book. :)

The Wandering Author said...

Both attract me; I really enjoy a good story, but I can't wait to visit old friends, either. Books that offer both are rare, but more than worth the effort to find.

Manic Mom said...

I really think I look at the story as a whole. I can't decide if I like a character just by reading the inside cover. So I would say I'm a story girl. But I have come away with LOVING characters. One that comes to mind--Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone. I should really read that again. And some other books where I'm like, "Ooh, I'd want to be best friends with her!"

phyllis towzey said...

Definitely the characters. I especially love series that follow the same characters over years and even decades -- like Robert B. Parker's Spenser series. I can't wait for each new one, and I don't really care abou the plot -- it's just a framework to revisit old friends.

mcewen said...

Got to have a murder in it! Whodunnits are my only 'escapism' reading [I don't like to examine why that should be so!]
Actually, I think it's the intellectual challenge, mining for clues, eliminating red herrings, psychological profiling.......
PD James would always be my first choice.
Best wishes

Lucie Simone said...

I'm much more into characters and voice than plot. Story is important, but if I don't like the characters, rarely will I stick with a book just because the plot is compelling. And what goes hand in hand with characters and voice is the quality of the writing. I love an author who uses words expressively and elegantly. My favorite author for getting it all absolutely right is Tracy Chevalier.

ORION said...

Characters definitely. I need compelling characters even when I write.