Language vs Story and Some Rambles

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So. I saw this the other day and may have snorted in a very non-cute way because I totally disagree. And what’s funny, is that I used to totally agree. I used to burn through books in an evening. OFTEN. Now, I only want to read books that are good enough that I WANT to slow down and enjoy the words the author wrote.

Of COURSE this is my right, and OF COURSE a lot of people would disagree, but it’s gotten me thinking about a lot of things.

My writing has changed drastically from my first published book. Drastically.

The other day I sat in front of “my” bookshelf (the one with all the good stuff on it) and opened a few of my favorites from years ago. And a few more. And… I realized that if I started reading those books now, I probably wouldn’t have made it past page three. Because without strong language and good writing, only a handful of people are going to continue reading and enjoy the story. Or maybe a LOT of people will still enjoy the story.

I’m just not one of them.

I would rather read a book that 90% character study than BIG IDEA if the writing is good.

And sometimes the BIG story and the GORGEOUS writing come together and make something amazing. I just finished The Archived by Victoria Schwab, and the writing was just amazing. The story was amazing. I’m in the middle of Just One Day by Gayle Forman, and WOW. Writing meets great story. My list of books where fantastic writing meets great story is pretty long. My list of great writing and pretty good story is even longer.

I guess what it comes down to is that I’ve been spending more time on craft than I ever have before. Is it slowing me down while I write? Yep. Is it making writing a bit more difficult? Yep. Is it worth it? HOLY CRAP YES. I want people to read my books and think – Jolene’s books just keep getting better.

BUT, of course that won’t happen for everyone.

This is just been on my mind a lot lately b/c I used to burn through a first draft in 2-6 weeks, and I think the time of me speed-writing is over, and right now, I’m just trying to be okay with that 😉

What’s been on your mind lately?

~ Jolene




7 thoughts on “Language vs Story and Some Rambles

  1. I think right now I teeter between the two.

    I applaud writers who can tell a fantastic story without calling attention to the writing itself. I think it takes talent to make the writing fade into the background and let the story itself shine. I still love swallowing a book in a day because I have to know what happens next.

    But I also adore beautiful writing, or books I can take my time oohing and ahhing with writer-jealousies because I want to write pretty like that too. Or I want to get to get to know that character even though nothing ‘big’ ever happens in the story.

    Nice thing is there’s room for both in the world. I think my books are a mix of both (at least I try for that) and I notice some of my books come out within a few weeks, and others take years. I just need to get over the whole…you’ve started my book yesterday–why aren’t you finished yet–it must be terrible…mentality. Haha.

    1. I’ve read books that took me OUT Of the action b/c there was so much “prose” and I think then the balance has gone too far the other way. And I’m with you – I’m ALWAYS trying to find that nice balance for me, my characters, and the story… As to whether or not I’m successful…? I’d guess there are as many opinions on that as there are readers 😉

  2. I love the great fast paced story. but I love the well written deep story even more. I’m kind of half half on that one.

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