What is more important and why - plot, character, style, narration, description?
I think all of those things are important, as well as it having a start, middle and end.
i can't speak for everyone here, but when i follow a story i look at two things predominantly. character development and plot. although it's mostly character development, as i found HIGHLY interesting characters can make up for a weak plot sometimes. however, a good story will keep it interesting and entertaining without being predictable.
different things at different times. If i read just to admire a persons ability to write.... the story line is not imporant. I am not really in to fiction.
I look for the subleties. The story between the lines. The picture that is painted with many levels piques my interest.
If the story isn't predictable, that's always a plus. Sometimes predictable stories can ruin the experience because you already know what's going to happen next.
Thank you, Origin and what makes something predictable? We all have different life experiences so can a writer avoid what you can predict? And is any story truly unique or do stories draw on traditions? For instance, the detective novel typically resolves with the crime solved; would you feel cheated if you read a detective story that did not solve the crime? And is that not the resolution of a story something every reader expects?
i am not a great reader, unfortunately.... i can r ead, of course, but my concentration level is terrible. So i choose books that are about real people... i love the work of Charlotte Bronte. Then i get obsessive. I have been to see where she lived, and was buried lots of times. Actually she only lived half an hur away from my home. Next time i visit England i will go again. Bronte Parsonage is a grea place to visit,
I think all of the things you mentioned are important but many writers of short stories use something you have not mentioned:
Which is often referred to as the 'hook'.
The part at the beginning of the story that spurs you to read on and to find out more.
It is also said that most short stories require a plot that is based on a conflict that needs a resolve.
Hope this has not gone of track from your original point. It is an interesting subject.
Thank you, 2uesday... IMO you are right on track for 2 reasons. First, you introduce additional aspects to the question. And while I did not mention them, these extras are important. Second, I hope this thread has a very broad track; one that encompass different and divergent thoughts. I posted the question to provoke a plethora of opinions.
And I recognize short fiction as a separate form from long fiction; although the long form allows for great scope and depth, both forms use some of the same techniques and device. And whereas the short form does tend to emphasize the strong hook the long form has more space to develop a reader's interest.
But in either case, long or short form, are these conventions? And can a writer break from those conventions with impunity?
I look forward to your thought...
Good Day Pburger
You are asking us to pick one: plot, narrations, character, style, or description, and defend our choice, yes? You want to know which one we think is most important. Do I have that right?
My personal choice is style. The authors I admire: Mario Puzo (mafia novels); John Grisham (legal thrillers); Elmore Leonard (crime not mystery novels); and Phillip K.Dick (science fiction) are prose stylists. By this I mean they have "a way with words."
The way they put words down on the page, establishes a rhythm which pulls me through the story just as much, if not more, than the actual plot. I find that I can forgive a lot if the author is a good prose stylist.
For me, narration, character, description, even plot ( a good style can find a plot, I think), emerge from style. I think of a novel or short story like a song.
The style of writing is the instrument. Each cord or key plays a different note. Those notes are characters - each one is different, as they come from different parts of you, the author; but these characters flow from the style of prose; the style of prose is the natural landscape, and the characters emerge from it.
The notes are the narrative. The beauty you create with the style of prose, which is the natural landscape of the story, deserves a witness, demands one. The notes are the description, which I understand to be a component of narration.
Look at that. All we have left is plot. We started with style, out of which emerged clearly defined and interesting characters; as well as the landscape of the story along with necessary descriptions, the narrative.
With all those elements stewing, sooner or later something interesting will happen.
Anyway, that is why, in my view, style is the most important element of a story.
Relatable characters, a strong plot, an unexpected twist at the end. My three favorite elements are sex, mystery and suspense, preferably in the same story.
I really like colorful characters with realistic feelings. I like a lot of banter between the characters, especially if I find myself smiling.
An original story that makes me think is nice.
It has to be readable with decent grammar and punctuation.
I read a quote once that said: "I'm willing to suspend my disbelief, not suspend it by the neck until dead." Make the details believable.
In any case, have some fun writing it and make it something that you like. That way you'll always have at least one fan.
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