Which is more important: The emotional plot or the bigger picture?

This is something that I have been debating for a while now, and when asking my friends, I got a range of answers, all of which have merit to them.
  • Isn’t the bigger picture more important, because without it, the characters wouldn’t have an emotional plot?
  • Isn’t the emotional plot more important because the inner turmoil is more relatable than overthrowing a tyrant?
  • Without the bigger picture, the book is so monotonous, and with it, we get adventure!
  • The emotional turmoil is essentially what motivates the entire book, because otherwise, what’s the motivation for the adventure?
While these are all really good points, it gets people thinking and disagreeing and taking sides. I want to hear everyone’s opinions.


I asked my fellow bloggers what they thought of this puzzling question, and Mel from the Infernal Fangirl’s Heaven gave me a really awesome response! (Also, please go check out her Letter to #OwnVoices, it is so powerful and worth the read!)

Mel said:
“I think you can’t really have one without the other - they both have to be executed well. If you had good emotional plot then the reader cares more about the characters. However, you also need a good overall plot because otherwise the reader won’t be interested or sucked in.”


If I’m honest, Mel summed it up really well, and there isn’t much more I can say. Jump down to the comments below and tell me what you think: Is the emotional plot or the bigger picture more important in a YA novel?

4 comments :

  1. Yes I agree I think it best to have both as the plot provides a compelling story that keeps you on the edge of your seat and the character's emotional journey helps reader to connect to them and really brings the story to a new depth that a good plot alone couldn't have done. I also think when you include both it helps the other one became stronger (e.g. if you have a good emotional journey the plot will seem stronger as you can push on the characters insecurities to get a more dramatic plot etc.)
    Great post and definitely worth thinking about!! :-)

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    1. Exactly! It is a really difficult one to answer, and I think that you hit the nail on the head about how the two different plot types make each other stronger! The emotional plot is certainly motivation enough for an overall plot, but you need to get it right otherwise you might end up with a character who just has no motivation and nothing that we, the readers, can relate to! :)

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  2. Hmmmm. I think I'm going to go more for the emotional plot. I've recently discovered I like atmospheric slow books, which tend to have more of an emotional plot than an active plot. But I'm happy with any book that has a great cast of characters, regardless of what they do!

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    1. I definitely understand that. The emotional plot is key when reading a good book, because otherwise you are left with an apathetic character who you can't relate to. I too find that atmospheric slow books are really good, but as an impatient reader, sometimes I can't get myself to get into it if I just want to get to the point! :)

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