Plus, I've just been lazy with updating this lately. I've been a little sick all this week; it hasn't been very fun. Oh well. I promise I'll update this thing over the weekend. Maybe with some character studies with someone other than Roulette.
There's a forum topic on Nathan Bransford's forums about Weak Female Protagonists in YA Literature that caught my attention. Some of the protagonists mentioned were Bella from Twilight and Katriss from The Hunger Games. I haven't read The Hunger Games yet, but they're on my list, so I can't talk about them. I can, though, talk about Bella, as I read the first one and a half books before giving up on her.
The purpose of a character is to evoke an emotion from the reader. They must further the plot in a way that makes the reader care enough about the conclusion to keep reading. Bella did her job: she made me want to beat the crap out of her for being pathetic, but she got an emotion from me. Twilight isn't meant to be anything truly literary; it's meant to be a romance. A
poorly written romance about a mortal girl and a vampire guy who fall in love.
And when Edward abandons her, Bella doesn't know what to do with herself. She sits for months, doing nothing. This was when I could no longer relate to her even as a character. She was so petty and unrealistic (for me) that I couldn't stand it. I put the book down. But millions of other girls my age adore the stories. My best friends have read them and liked them. My cousin loves them. So Twilight did what it was meant to do.
Another best selling series is the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordian. Annabeth is one of the strongest female characters I've read in YA, and she was written by a middle aged man. She and Bella can't be compared, because they're such opposite characters. Annabeth would never get herself into the situation of pining for a lost man for months. She wouldn't let the emotions run that deep. Even if she was hurt, she would pick herself back up and continue on with life, because her world would demand it.
The plot would demand it. Bella's plot didn't. So, if plot affects characters, and if characters affect the plot, what should be more important? The effect the plot has on the character, or the effect the characters have on the plot? I think it should always be the latter, because without characters you have no vehicle for your plot, which is how an author's message manifests itself in a novel.
Plot and character may be interwoven, but character should always drive the plot.