The Well Written Story v The Good Story - Page 3


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Thread: The Well Written Story v The Good Story

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Yes, it's good writing. However, it isn't great writing -- it's a great story with great characters that is written competently . . .
    But if she was truly a great writer as opposed to a great storyteller and decent writer . . ..
    Rowling is a great storyteller? I agree, at least for the passage I cited. What do you mean by that? How does she do that if not by good writing?
    Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools not Rules is finally published and available for $3 Hidden Content . Should be mandatory for serious writers, IMO. Italics, Fragments, Disfluency, lists, etc. But also commas and paragraph length. Discussed use of adverbs, and ends with a chapters on the awesome moment and the grammar of action scenes. Description at my Hidden Content

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    What do you mean by that? How does she do that if not by good writing?
    By writing competently and having a good story. The writing doesn't enhance the story particularly, it merely captures it sufficiently well that the excellent story is efficiently conveyed. She is a good writer, sure. But she is, more accurately, a competent writer with a great imagination.

    Do you disagree? If so, do you think university literature students will be studying Rowling's writing in 100 years the way they currently do for writers like Fitzgerald, Hemingway or Faulkner? We don't know, of course, but I am doubtful. I think they might study Rowling for character design, storytelling but not the actual manner in which she wrote, which is rather similar to a lot of other writers and not particularly inventive. Actually, I'm pretty doubtful even there.

    Why is Rowling any better than a modernized Enid Blyton, who achieved comparable popularity yet also oddly absent from literature lecture halls, and who is actually pretty derided as a 'serious' writer?
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I really kind of hate the distinction because it doesn't feel like it should exist. I want to say 'great writing is writing that tells a great story competently'.

    But then I have a problem of accounting for the difference between the JK Rowlings and Stephen Kings of the world from the Fitzgeralds and the Faulkners.

    I always think putting down the difference to 'literary v genre fiction' as being a bit of a cop out because, as we often find, there's no much overlap between literary and genre fiction anyway, to the point one would wonder WHY Rowling/King could not be described as 'literary fiction' -- are they not good enough?

    And the answer is...they probably aren't good enough, I guess. In stylistic terms, at least. Stephen King is absolutely as good a storyteller as F. Scott Fitzgerald, as possibly a better one (subjective), but stylistically he probably isn't as good. Ergo, there must be a difference between high-end storytelling and high-end writing...
    I call King a master technician of punctuation and grammar. He ends up with an easy, friendly read that is nearly impossible to mimic. He does nothing new or brilliant that I know of, and he is not on my wizard list. But still, we seem to have such different opinions of him. And of course everyone seems to agree with you, and I respect your judgment.

    How is that possible? I mean, a big part of the problem is that I can't say how he accomplishes that. But when I try to think of a writer who can write like King, I get nothing. Evanovich might be as clear, but in a different way. Have you ever tried to write like King, with that easy, friendly style? I tried, I'm not sure I can, it was a good learning experience, though not exactly what I wanted.
    Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools not Rules is finally published and available for $3 Hidden Content . Should be mandatory for serious writers, IMO. Italics, Fragments, Disfluency, lists, etc. But also commas and paragraph length. Discussed use of adverbs, and ends with a chapters on the awesome moment and the grammar of action scenes. Description at my Hidden Content

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    Have you ever tried to write like King, with that easy, friendly style? I tried, I'm not sure I can, it was a good learning experience, though not exactly what I wanted.
    No, I can't either, and yet I can't see anybody studying his oeuvre in the future as examples of great literature either. I can see them studying Jonathan Saffran Foer.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    do you think university literature students will be studying Rowling's writing in 100 years the way they currently do for writers like Fitzgerald, Hemingway or Faulkner?
    If your character is frenetic, you can just say "Ronald was frenetic." Story told! I think it's considered better if you can convey that in speech; Faulkner was one of the first to use the long, punctuation-less paragraph which I think conveys frenetic-ness.

    To me, doing that well is good writing that's contributing to the story. Faulkner's technique doesn't work very well, because it's too hard to understand, and I haven't seen a lot of copying. But you can find people adapting the technique to make it work, except that would be more modern writers.

    But right, we may disagree about how brilliant Rowling was being, but I never found her doing anything with punctuation and grammar that I hadn't seen before. (That passage has a short "punch line", nice set up, good use of disfluency and ellipses, informative dialogue tags).

    It's interesting to think about who we will study 100 years from now, but it's probably more important to talk about who we should be learning from today. New thread?
    Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools not Rules is finally published and available for $3 Hidden Content . Should be mandatory for serious writers, IMO. Italics, Fragments, Disfluency, lists, etc. But also commas and paragraph length. Discussed use of adverbs, and ends with a chapters on the awesome moment and the grammar of action scenes. Description at my Hidden Content

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    It's interesting to think about who we will study 100 years from now, but it's probably more important to talk about who we should be learning from today. New thread?
    That will be me on both counts
    A new story

    I finally got 'A Family Business' recorded and loaded, all 37 mins of it, much longer than any I have done before.
    Hidden Content

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I always think putting down the difference to 'literary v genre fiction' as being a bit of a cop out because, as we often find, there's no much overlap between literary and genre fiction anyway, to the point one would wonder WHY Rowling/King could not be described as 'literary fiction' -- are they not good enough?

    And the answer is...they probably aren't good enough, I guess. In stylistic terms, at least. Stephen King is absolutely as good a storyteller as F. Scott Fitzgerald, as possibly a better one (subjective), but stylistically he probably isn't as good. Ergo, there must be a difference between high-end storytelling and high-end writing...
    I think intent should be considered, too. I have no doubt that King could write some strong literary fiction, if he wanted to. He shows flashes of it, here and there. And judging from his own conversations on the craft, it doesn't seem beyond his ability. But that's not the style that he prefers, nor is it a style that would likely be enjoyed by his target audience.

    So when we say "not good enough" to write high-brow literature (in regards to King), we could also reword it to say, "chooses not to".

    I'm more uncertain with Rowling. I think her success can never be argued with. But I'd say she's more an example of a competent writer with a great concept. When I've read her work, I haven't caught myself thinking, "Wow! Now that's great writing." While I do catch myself saying that with some other authors. Authors like: Margaret Atwood, Anthony Doerr, Karen Russell, Ekaterina Sedia, Leigh Bardugo, (and on and on the list can go ...)

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    The following ends with probably the most important sentence in the book. Three words. If you look at the thought and detail that went into this passage, it is anything but simple. The author slows things down and gives it a lot of

  9. #29
    Let me emphasize, I like the "Potter" series and have listened to it several times while at work. But I hate it when smart characters do stupid things. Over and over. Harry in particular is guilty of not passing on critical information when their was no reason to hold it back.

    "No, Professor Dumbledore, there's nothing you should know. Because if I told you what I know, you might think I was a git."

    Another thing that was over the top was Hermione constantly whining about something being against school rules and the dire consequences if caught.

    The above come across as needless word count padding because neither push the story forward.

    If not "poor writing", it's certainly bad editing.

    A couple of examples of great stories not so well written-
    -Tarzan and the Barsoom series
    -Lensman series
    -Shanara series
    -Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and The Happy Hollisters

    I thought my tastes in reading were crass because I don't like many of the books that are considered literary classics. Listening to teachers tell us how wonderful these stories are left me feeling like I was too stupid to get it. Until one day, I freed myself of all that when I had the courage to say "These books aren't classics. They're boring!" I don't care how beautifully something is written- if it's boring, it's not good.

  10. #30
    The literary fiction of Henry James has almost no "storytelling" and yet, due to the quality of the writing and characterizations, I still enjoy it.

    The literary genre as a whole has also always been full of insufferable nonsense, but thankfully, time washes that away.

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