I’m not into literary fiction. In fact, I must confess my own prose isn’t amazing.

But something I’ve noticed is that a lot of popular writers don’t have lyrical prose either. I’m currently reading A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr (about half-way through), and I wouldn’t describe his writing style as a fantastic new voice in speculative fiction.

Yet, I’m enjoying the book.

Which led me to ask the question why.


It’s quite simple actually. I want someone to tell me an entertaining story. I want to read a book that makes me wonder what’s going on, what makes this world tick, and what’s going to happen.

Now, some would say you can’t do that unless you follow certain rules, etc. That’s probably true most of the time. But in the end, a bunch of brilliant prose with an uninteresting story doesn’t appeal to me.

Are characters important? I’d be a fool to say no. But I still think they’re secondary to the journey that character goes on and the world they live in.

In trying to figure out why I’m enjoying A Cast of Stones, I examined two other books I recently enjoyed. Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan and The Crown and the Tower by Michael J. Sullivan.

Sullivan has amazing characters, but McClellan doesn’t in my opinion. They’re morally blurry, and I wasn’t really cheering for them.

But his story world is super unique (gunpowder fantasy). And the story that’s being told is one I want to hear even if I’m not big on the characters.

I feel the same way about A Cast of Stones. The main character is a drunk. There’s not much that’s appealing to him. However, the author leaves so many pieces of popcorn that make me want to know about the story world and the unfolding plot.

Which keeps me reading with anticipation. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do as writers?


About Will Ramirez

Will Ramirez grew up with a love for God's Word and fantastical worlds. The first passion led him to pastor Calvary Chapel Lighthouse for the the last 17 years. The second led him to create the world of Adme, the setting for his coming debut novel, an epic fantasy titled Soul Yearning. He lives in Central Florida with his bride of seventeen years and their four children. Since 2010, he's been a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and serves on the leadership team of Word Weavers of Orlando. He is currently working on the second book of the Godslayer series as well as The Unspoken, book one of a dark fantasy trilogy. In the land of Adme, powerful beings rule as deities and compete with one another for followers. But when a young priest is revealed as the prophesied godslayer, the pantheon unites to destroy him.

3 comments on “Storytelling

  1. Reblogged this on Tales of the Undying Singer and commented:
    Good storytelling can overcome a lot: deficient prose, characters one doesn’t like too much, cheap paper on which a story is printed… 😉

  2. Dear Will,

    One thing people have always remarked on, whether in prose or in poetry, is my “voice” as a writer. I ought to collect those comments for when my senility sets in.

    But it’s when people say things like “somewhere, somehow, [your fictional world] is real”, or when someone like the editor of THE CROSS AND THE COSMOS says the following (if I ever publish an e-anthology, I’ll ask permission to use the blurb), I know that the purpose of writing fiction – storytelling – is being fulfilled. What language I use is but a service toward that end. If I may without seeming immodest:

    “Starbright [Part 01] literally blew me away. Rakkav’s ability to tell a story that is rich and full of backstory and coherence to a central time line makes anything he puts out worth a read.”

    And if you write fiction like you write prose – something I have yet to test, alas! – then I know whatever you write is worth a read too. That short-short story you gave us certainly illustrates the point. My chief villain Nicholas Blackthorn was eating popcorn and applauding every step of the way. 🙂

  3. Thank you for this. For someone who’s obsessed with the eternity of a character (i.e. whether or not they’ll be strong enough to last in the reader’s heart forever. A bit too ambitious, I know.), this was refreshing. I definitely need to work on my storytelling skills and you’ve reminded me that I may have somewhat been neglecting them.
    After all, story telling began with the STORY. A story worth telling. Not a prose, a character, a far-out-there-idea worth telling.

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