Monday, October 21, 2019

Style and Substance by Brenda

Story or style? What draws you in as a reader?

As both a reader and a writer, this question underpins the choice of books I select from the bookstore and the manuscripts I choose to write. Both story and style hold equal sway in drawing me in and holding my interest whether I’m reading someone else’s work or writing my own.

A book needs to have a plot line that drives forward with enough suspense to keep me turning the pages. Yet, if the writing doesn't hit the key notes: distinctive voice, evocative language, well-drawn, sympathetic characters, sense of place, then I'm likely to stop reading. It goes without saying that the writing skills must also be polished without grammar faults that I can't overlook. This goes for both literary and genre fiction.

I usually give a book several opportunities and seldom consciously decide that it's not working for me. However, I'll set the book down one too many times and will never get back to it even though I intend to keep reading. Instead, I'll inevitably pick up a different book and before long forget to go back to the first one. I know a book has me hooked when I think about its story most of the day and spend hours at a time engrossed its pages, especially as the book nears the end. 

So, I suppose the point I'm making is that style and story are so intertwined that if one isn't working neither will be enough. The books that I most enjoy match the plot with the style of storytelling and I can picture the story unfolding in my mind like a movie. 

In fact, I was watching a television movie this week and the plot was entertaining enough but the acting was so wooden that I lost interest and switched over to another channel. The execution didn't match up to the story. Life is too short and there is too much wonderful choice to waste time on something that doesn't connect with me on all levels.

As for my own writing, I'm excited to tell you that I've recently had my website redone with a focus on laying out my books each with a synopsis and review quotes. The new site appears to have resulted in the upcoming Closing Time hitting pre-sale, best seller status on Amazon so money well spent :-) You can reach me directly through the site to let me know your thoughts or to send along any comments or questions.

And now I'm off to read the final chapters of a book that's had me in its grip all week ...


Facebook: BrendaChapmanAuthor

Twitter: brendaAchapman

1 comment:

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