Style over Story - Page 4

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Thread: Style over Story

  1. #31
    I like to think of the 'story' being the Planet Earth.

    "Plot" is the land, based on the highly apparent peaks, the place where things of interest appear to happen. "Characters" are the ocean; harboring far more of the story's mystery, affecting far more of its physical mannerisms, but far more complicated to define.

    Style could be the shape of the waves as they collide with the beach.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  2. #32
    I am currently reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, and there is often little going on from scene to scene. I believe it's easy to captivate audiences with action, but it shows the mark of a more experienced author when he can captivate with style alone.
    Personally, I could read a book on the most mundane of subjects if it was well written, just as I refuse to read a book on the most interesting plot if it's written poorly.

  3. #33
    I think a heightened style can work but only if the story is the driving force.

  4. #34
    Good story-telling has its own style - Robert B Parker, Dick Francis and Agatha Christie.
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  5. #35
    I'm a bit of an odd duck, but this argument is also going on among the Evangelical/fundamental Christians regarding Bible translations. There is a group that insist the 1611 King James Version is the very inspired Word of God to the English speaking world, (they ignore that the KJV they use is actually the 1769 revision.) On the other side of the issue are those you prefer more recent translations such as the English Standard Version. At the end of the day, it's a style versus readability argument. The prose of the King James is beautiful and I love not just what it says, but how it says it. On the other hand you have to sometimes double translate a passage to make it clear. What I mean is that you talk about what the original language says, but then have to explain the Old English. So why not just use the modern translation that is just as accurate?

    It seems to me story is just that, the story. Style is the emotion of the story, so I'm not sure how you could put style first. I guess I approach it like preaching, I get my facts and message then add the rhetoric to add impact. Unless you are like some preachers who make notes to themselves, "Weak point, yell loud."

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Tettsuo View Post
    I can't think of any books where the style of the book was more important than the story. Maybe it's because tend to read genre fiction instead of literary?

    Anyway, when I was in an offline writing group, I noticed that a peculiar trend. The writers tended to favor "fancy" prose, even with the story made little to no sense. So, after they'd lavish the writers with praise, I'd sometimes find myself feeling like an a**hole when I'd address the weak storyline.

    My point, is this something that writers prefer discussing when critiquing a piece? Is the style more important than the story contents? In my head, I see the story as FAR more important that a few ill-placed words.
    This is an excellent topic. I am like you, I always go for substance over style. When it comes to my writing I'm always thinking about the story and less about the style of the prose. Not that I don't care about the prose because I do want it to be readable. I strive for saying more with less but balancing it with not being boring. It's all a balance.

  7. #37
    There are readers that prefer to read poetic prose. I'm not one of them. I don't like purply writing and over-use of metaphors and similes. Nothing will get me to DNF a book faster than several 50 word sentences in a single paragraph, I don't care how good the story is. Every reader is different though, but I think if it's a novel, it needs to have a memorable story, otherwise, why read it?

  8. #38
    I think it's a delicate balancing act. Even the best story needs to be spiced up by beautiful language I guess. That is my opinion.

  9. #39
    I'm 100% style all the time and have been known to jump storytellers in alleyways and bludgeon them to death with copies of Moby-Dick, Ulysses, and the original unedited first draft of Leaves of Grass. Engage me if thee doth desire, plebeian knave.

  10. #40
    I write description similar to what I like to read. I pare it down to a minimum because I’m not five years old. If you have an old woman sitting in the corner I know she’s graying and wrinkled. Now if she was two hundred years old and skin like a child, I would want to know.
    I’ve read some books where the first chapter was a laundry list without an event or a character. Recently I looked in to a book that had 13000 great reviews on Amazon. I didn’t get it. Without the style, it was a zero out of four. I’m defiantly missing something. When I look at a best seller I just shake my head. Not to all of them, but most.

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