Today I want to discuss character-driven novels. I just finished another very character-driven book yesterday, and, honestly, I kind of hated it. (My review will be up tomorrow.) It got me thinking though. Do people really enjoy character-driven novels? According to this Goodreads list of Popular Character Driven Books, I have read and liked many character-driven novels, but I think it’s only because they also had a decent amount of plot action.
The way I see it, an author can paint a picture with their words, tell a story with those words, or, ideally, do both. I just don’t get character-driven novels. Sure, I like getting to know the characters in a book, but I don’t really care about the characters unless something is happening to them in the present or unless they’re doing something. If I want to look at a snapshot of someone’s life, I’ll look at a painting. Seriously, I read to experience things, not to just peer into another person’s mind or life. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy being inside of a character’s head, but I want something to happen in the story. I want just that…an actual story.
I know some of you enjoy character-driven novels, so I guess what I’m asking today is for you to please explain it to me. Why do you enjoy these types of books? What draws you to books that are almost entirely characterization with minimal plot action?
I read reviews and hear wonderful things about certain books, and then I read them, and I am completely stunned. Is it just me? I feel like I am missing out somehow by not finding these character-driven novels to be delightful or inspiring or whatever other adjective I have heard them described as. Am I just too left brain to get it? Please help me out.