Is Plot or Character More Important for Middle Grade Readers?

Can you have one without the other? Is one more important than the other?

I think that plot keeps kids reading, but the characters are what you remember, right? Think of Where The Red Fern Grows. Do you remember the events verbatim of the book? Or do you remember the haunting image of a boy staring down at a red fern waving gently over the buried bodies of his beloved companions?

Let me back up. I write middle grade, but that means my writing skills need to be at fever pitch. To do that, I read thru a lot of writing books, looking at new methods and trying to constantly improve my skills. I’ve run across this “plot vs character” thing a-lot, and to my thinking, it’s a hard sell. Can you really have one without the other?

Think of Percy Jackson. Sure, it’s got a lot of plot. But would you keep reading if Percy never went anywhere in his character and development?

Think of The Black Stallion. Sure, plot – horse and boy! Deserted! On a desert island! But I think you’d agree with me that the real story is the developing relationship between Alex and The Black.

There are so many more. I do have a question for you, as a gatekeeper (or reader!) do you prefer a more plot based book? More character based?

What is your favorite example?

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