Ellen Hart writes:
Mary Higgins Clark once commented that the three main elements in writing a mystery were pace, plot, and character. She likened them to three balls. The writer’s task was to be a juggler, to keep those three balls up in the air at all times. If the writer allowed one to drop, the reader’s interest would also dip.
For years, I’ve felt that character was the centerpiece of my mysteries. But the more I write, the more I realize that Mary was right--that it’s all a connected web. Character driven books are great--as long as there’s good pace and plot. Plot-driven books are fine, too, as long as we’re given someone to really care about and a sense of forward momentum. And a book that’s all pace and plot (a thriller) can interest me, but not if the characters are so flat that if they turn sideways, you can’t see them.
What do you think of Mary Higgin’s Clark’s comment?