On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft On Writing question

Which is more important?
Andrew Lennon Andrew Aug 28, 2013 01:27AM
Which is more important to you?
That a book is well written.
That it is a good story.

Obviously I don't mean things like spelling and grammar mistakes but some books I've found to be over descriptive. Whilst others lack enough description.

In my opinion, regardless of the style or quality of writing, it all comes down to the story itself. Do I care about what is going to happen to the characters within.

What are your thoughts?

Both are critical.
A great storyline can be ruined by poor writing. I recently read two books by an author who had a great plot for both but totally destroyed my enjoying the story by atrocious writing.
On the other hand, great writing can elevate a so-so plot to terrific.
And when you find a great story that is well written, you've struck gold.

I think sometimes the best prose is when you don't notice it at all. It's like you're living the world and absorbing the story almost through osmosis.

I think that the story is what's most important, but the prose needs to be good enough to draw you into that story in the first place.

Lazy prose, pages and pages of useless description, bad spelling, punctuation, etc, just kick me right out of the story.

If the prose can't keep you engaged with the story, even the best story in the world is going to be like pulling teeth.

The story is everything to me, but also spelling I dont want my eyes to start bleeding because of spelling mistakes.

I think a well written story is more important. To illustrate, compare The Stand to Terri Blackstock's Last Light. In both stories a major occurence (albeit different)drastically changes life as we know it. While the story premise for each book is similar, the books couldn't be more different. King's ability to paint the picture and develop the characters carries you through the book (and it's a long one) while the poorly developed characters and choppy dialogue make Blackstock's book a chore.
I think a great storyteller can take an average storyline and turn it into a good book, while the same can't be said for a poor storyteller. They'll kill a good story.

If an author has limited ability in more than one area, I probably won't finish the book.

back to top