Characters without plot, or vice versa

I am having a bit of a dilemma. I used to try to make my plots far too thick; the story could not find a conclusion. But now I have simplified things to the point that I barely have a plot at all. I have characters, for sure, and I have events that shape them and make them who they are, but not much of a plotline for them to reveal themselves in.

What do I do? Go back to crazily thick plots?

Just tell me this: what do you enjoy most about a good novel? Does it need suspense and mystery to keep you interested? Or is the plight of an interesting character enough to go on? And given that there is mystery and suspense, at what point do you lose interest and find it all rather ridiculous?

Perhaps my question is impossible to answer because there are too many variations. But I would greatly appreciate any thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “Characters without plot, or vice versa

  1. Frank Peretti is perhaps my favorite author. It’s not so much the plots that I find interesting, but the characters. He makes them so real, and their realism is funny. I like to laugh.
    For instance, what I liked most about his novel The Visitation was the hilarious and true reactions of all the characters to the different circumstances that faced them. Yes, it begins as an intriguing sort of plot, but it really takes awhile for it to pick up. It’s mostly dealing with the main character’s attitude to life in general.

    I have no idea if this applies to what you’re asking.

  2. It does apply, a lot. I wanted to know whether the characters are enough to keep a person reading. I am a big fan of mystery myself, so I was unsure whether mystery is necessary to hold everyone’s interest, or only my kind.
    So yes, you answered my question.

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