I found this an interesting topic, actually. Because isn’t every novel character-driven? Without the characters, there is no story, so technically, every story is driven by characters. However if I have to choose what I would consider to be more character-driven than usual, then there are the ones I’d recommend.
“I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
This is a novel that is not just about cancer — but the characters, too. So much emotion is filled into these pages, and I think that was mainly because this is such a character-driven novel that’ll leave you in a foetal position crying.
2. Anything written by Stephen King.
Confession time: I don’t really like King. He’s a good writer — but just not for me. One of the more positive things I can say about his novels, however, is that his character are freakin’ fantastic. Layered, intriguing, never who you think they are. I’ve only read two or so novels by him, yet already I can tell most of his novels are driven by their characters.
3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
Oh my gosh. This is a book that will twist your mind inside out, then back again. The characters were so complex, something disturbingly so. If this isn’t a character driven novel, then I don’t know what is!
4. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.
One of my favourite high fantasy novels, that is for sure. But as I was writing this list I realized that this novel would fit nicely into this week’s topic. With a large cast of characters, A Game of Thrones is clearly a driven by the characters and their motivations — greed, desire, whatever that may be, and focuses a lot on their plights to, well, take the Iron Throne, really. (If you like a fantasy sort of political drama that focuses on character, you’ll like this.)
5. Looking For Alaska by John Green.
Personally I think that most realistic fiction novels are going to be character driven — as there is not a greater fantastical plotline, it gives the author less to focus on, and therefore the characters take the forefront.
6. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.
I love these books. Deal with it. And yes, I feel as though there is a greater concentration on the characters and their relationships rather than “plot”, exactly.
7. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
I read this for school — and surprisingly liked it! Definitely character driven, that’ll leave you feeling a little sad by the time you’ve finished it. I do recommend it, even if you’re not really a classic book reader — it’s short, and easy to get through.
8. Outlander by Diana Diana Gabaldon.
Reading this at the moment — and really liking it — and finding that there is a story centered around the characters. And, of course, men in skirts.
9. Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James.
I loved the characters in this one. Love them. Even though there story is about finding out what happened to Cooper, I do believe the characters were what made this book.