Thank you all those readers who took a moment to give an opinion. Although this is the result of a small number of answers it is still interesting.
The question was: Should novels be...?
Character led 57%
Plot led 0%
No preference 42%
All stories have people in them- well there are a few from an animal or ghoul type perspective of course, but usually there is a human being in the story somewhere.
If a writer has done their job properly then the reader will believe that those characters are real- okay you know they're made up, but how many times have you read a story and realised you know someone just like them?
I was fortunate enough to hear crime writer Stephen Booth give a talk last year at Nottingham Writers' Club. During the Q&A at the end of the talk I asked if he was a plot or character led writer?
(Many crime writers do seem to be plot led in my opinion, but I'm open to that view being challenged.)
He explained how his characters led the story, not the plot. His characters did seem to work things out as he wrote...
Of course there has to be a plot to any story, but it doesn't have to be set out from A to Z, letter by letter. If that's the way you write and it works for you, then that's great.
I've always been the type to know where I'm starting- or think I am, then where I see the story as ending and certain points in between the start and finish. Those points may move about a bit, but generally I end up where I expect to, even if I reach that end in a different way than I thought.
It does allow for some surprises along the way...
When I try to plot each stage my writing suffers- I think that is why I've had a number of issues with my Dorset novel. I deviated from my usual style. But I have learnt from it.
Though I do sometimes wonder if it isn't being a writer that makes plots visible. EDITED to add that I was thinking about books made into television dramas when I made this comment. Hope it now makes sense...
So, do you have any opinions on this subject that you'd like to share?