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Debate Corner > story elements

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message 1: by Steven (new)

Steven Moore To all,
This is more a poll than a debate question, but maybe I can generate some of the latter? When I read a review and the reviewer says, "This is a great character study," I cringe. When I see "action-packed roller coaster ride," same reaction. We all know plot, characterization, dialogue, action, settings, and so forth are important story elements, but what do you feel about a book that emphasizes one over the other?
I'm a fan of Goldilocks myself. She wanted the bed that was just right (maybe thinking more about baring it with the bears?). Do you prefer books that balance all story elements? Or do you prefer books that emphasize one element over all others? Legal thrillers are often more introspective than other thrillers. Is that a negative or a positive?
Weigh in with your opinions.
PS. This is really a question about the Goldilocks Principle applied to writing. Because readers rule, it seems that your opinions should affect how writers apply the Principle.

message 2: by Skye (new)

Skye | 325 comments This is a great question and easy enough, yet difficult to answer. I can only respond from my point of view. When I start a book, I don't have any anticipation, unless it's written by an author I love; however, after a few chapters, I begin, subconsciously to take note of the elements you just mentioned. All should be present and sometimes aren't, and if the writing ( facility) is fluid, then I keep reading. Personally, I love to learn about characters, and that places emphasis on dialogue ( inner and outward). I also like plot and setting. Balance is great, but not easy to achieve and perhaps overly rated.

message 3: by Steven (new)

Steven Moore Skye,
You answered it well. Perhaps Ms. Goldilocks is wrong with respect to balance between the elements. Might our opinions also be genre dependent? A novel about a trial might require a lot of back story, for example. I love to learn about characters too, as long as they seem real.

message 4: by Skye (new)

Skye | 325 comments Big smile, Steven: yes, I do believe genre does control expectations and specific elements; for instance, think Sydney Sheldon or James Michener OR the novel Celebrity by Thomas Thompson; our expectations become different when we read a different type of novel.

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